Microsoft today shared they have reached a technological breakthrough by developing a new way to allow people to have a more natural conversation with an AI-powered chatbot. The breakthrough happened in China, where the XiaoIce Microsoft chatbot can now operate in “full duplex voice sense” by listening to a user, digesting the information, and then responding more naturally at the same time.
Microsoft says that the advancements means the chatbot is also able to predict what the person talking will say next. Microsoft’s Li Zhou, engineer lead for XiaoIce, says this is a common skillset natural to us humans, but not yet common to chatbots. See a sample conversation in action below with the Xiamo Yeelight smart speaker.
More than 200 million people have used the XiaoIce Microsoft chatbot, providing the necessary knowledge base for such a breakthrough. This is not to be confused with productivity assistants like Cortana, which are designed to help assist with tasks. The XiaoIce chatbot can engage in interesting banter with people, much like you would with someone you know in person. Microsoft is working to apply the same technology to Microsoft Zo here in the United States, so best to keep tuned for more in the months ahead.