Microsoft has acquired Semantic Machines, a company based in Berkeley, California that developed a new approach to building conversational artificial intelligence.
“Their work uses the power of machine learning to enable users to discover, access, and interact with information and services in a much more natural way, and with significantly less effort,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.
“The company is led by many pioneers in conversational AI, including technology entrepreneur Dan Roth and two of the most prominent and innovative natural language AI researchers in the world, UC Berkeley professor Dan Klein and Stanford University professor Percy Liang, as well as former Apple chief speech scientist Larry Gillick.”
Microsoft said that despite great strides in machine learning, most bots and intelligent assistants still only respond to simple commands and queries.
For rich and effective communication, intelligent assistants need “conversational AI” – the ability to have a natural dialogue instead of just responding to commands.
Microsoft said the acquisition of Semantic Machines will allow it to establish a conversational AI centre of excellence in Berkeley.
“Combining Semantic Machines’ technology with Microsoft’s own AI advances, we aim to deliver powerful, natural, and more productive user experiences that will take conversational computing to a new level.”