The ever-increasing prominence of artificial intelligence gets another push from Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) purchase of AI start-up Semantics Machines in a deal whose financial details remain undisclosed. Semantics is a California-based company that specializes in conversational AI. In other words, machine-learning capabilities are used to help bots sound more human.
This acquisition is expected to help Microsoft enhance the capabilities of its digital voice assistant Cortana and its Azure Bot Service. The company plans to establish a conversational AI center of excellence in Berkeley to further its language interfaces development plans.
The team at Semantics includes experts like Larry Gillick who was previously Chief Speech Scientist at Apple (AAPL). They have worked on Apple’s digital assistant Siri. Providing context and memory to conversations with bots and digital assistants to make them more efficient is gaining more importance and this seems to be an area in where companies like Microsoft and Amazon (AMZN) are focusing now.
A few days ago, Google Duplex created news by using the Google Assistant to book an appointment. Microsoft hopes to bolster its AI capabilities on a similar front with this acquisition so that it can reach level footing with Google (GOOGL) and others in this space.
Although Microsoft had a nasty experience around two years ago with its Twitter chatbot, the company can be expected to learn from its experiences and do better with its experiments this time.
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