At Google I/O earlier this month, the tech giant blew everyone away by showing that Google Assistant could place phone calls, talk to humans fluently, and book an appointment on your behalf. But, it seems Google is not the only one working on this project as Microsoft has today revealed that it’s AI bots are equally capable.
First reported by The Verge, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on stage at an event in London confirmed that it has been working on the same technology but in China.
The company is testing an AI-based social chatbot known as Xiaoice (pronounced SHAO-ICE and the Chinese translation for ‘little Bing’) on WeChat and many other popular messaging platforms. It has over 500 million connections or friends and gives them access to 16 channels to interact with it.
Even though most of the bots conversations have been text-based till date, as The Verge reports, but Microsoft is now allowing the bot to call people and have ‘full-duplex’ conversations (a conversation where both users can speak and understand each other at the same time).
You can check out Xiaoice in action right here, but do take note that the AI social chatbot doesn’t only respond to the replies but can also predict what you are most likely to say and respond to it even quicker. It can even interrupt people mid-sentence, just like a normal human would. Isn’t that mind-boggling?
Nadella further added that Xiaoice could be texting with you on WeChat but that wouldn’t stop her from calling you and having a conversation – making it feel just like any other of your friends. The AI chatbot is touted to have completed over a million phone calls already and that’s an insane amount of time spent talking to humans.
With Google taking the cake for being the first one to demo the full-duplex capabilities of Google Assistant, Microsoft didn’t want to be left out. The Redmond giant has picked the perfect time to reveal its own AI conversationalist that could one day make cold calls a thing of the past.