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Microsoft acquires conversational AI startup Semantic Machines to take on Google Assistant and Alexa
2018-05-21T04:34:09Z - Abhimanyu Ghoshal / The Next Web
Microsoft has agreed to acquire Semantic Machines, a Berkeley, California-based startup that develops conversational AI – systems that help bots speak to humans naturally – in a bid to improve its Cortana voice assistant. With the tech that Semantic Machines is building, Cortana could get better at asking and answering follow-up questions, remembering information you’ve shared earlier, building context by rifling through your profile, and carrying out several functions in sequence after receiving detailed instructions from a human. While Google is clearly leading the race in this space, Amazon’s Alexa is also building its library of Skills to work with a wide range of third-party apps, services, and hardware. Meanwhile, Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, and Microsoft’s Cortana are trailing behind, with limited capabilities and compatibility in comparison to the best in the business. It’ll be interesting to see if Semantic Machines can help Microsoft improve Cortana so it’s more widely usable on Windows devices, as well as smart speakers (the company is said to be designing one that could either be sold to consumers as a Microsoft product or serve as a reference model for third-party hardware makers), and phones.

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