Conversational AI Technology: Microsoft demos breakthrough at Build 2019

May 9, 2019

Conversational AI Technology

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella showed off new intelligent conversational capabilities during his vision keynote address at Microsoft Build 2019. A breakthrough that will allow people to communicate naturally with computers. Watch Build Vision keynote with Satya Nadella here if you missed it.

Have you tried having a normal conversation with your virtual assistant? You know it isn’t really fun when you want more, except the usual commands it can respond to. Satya mentioned three setbacks with the current virtual agents. Conversations with current virtual agents he said are very brittle, don’t have natural language capabilities and aren’t multi-agents.

The new breakthrough Satya says, brings a conversational experience away from the previous manually curated set of skills. The Conversational AI Technology will use a multi-turn, multi-domain and multi-agent experience, keeping the conversation in context.

This is an excerpt of what he said;

Now, in spite of all the progress, you’ve got to remember, today, most of the conversations that we have are still very brittle. They’re truly not multi-turn. The context from turn to turn gets lost — especially human language is complex, where the context sometimes is subtle. So, therefore, how do you make sure that the natural language capabilities inside of these personal assistants is capable of having that shared context across a long dialogue versus just a few turns?

Satya Nadella

Conversational AI Technology demo

From the video we can see how the conversation takes a total of 34 dialog turns. With the virtual assistant keeping the conversation in relation and context to who, where, what and when it applies to.

Microsoft says the new conversational engine will be integrated into Cortana and made available to developers through the Bot Framework, other Azure surfaces and beyond. Microsoft will also make it available to its customer ecosystem, who will be able to customise it for their use.

The breakthrough is steered by Microsoft’s Semantics Machines, Microsoft Research Community and the Microsoft 365 team.