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May 21, 2018

Microsoft acquires AI company to make Cortana and bots sound more human

Microsoft is acquiring conversational AI startup Semantic Machines in an effort to make bots and intelligent assistants like Cortana sound and respond more like humans. Founded in 2014, Semantic Machines uses machine learning to make bots respond in a more natural way to queries. Semantic Machines is led by UC Berkeley professor Dan Klein and former Apple chief speech scientist Larry Gillick. Both are considered pioneers in conversational AI.

Microsoft’s acquisition will boost the company’s Cortana digital assistant, as well as the company’s Azure Bot Service that’s used by 300,000 developers. Microsoft has already used a human voice for its Cortana assistant. The software maker worked closely with Halo developer 343 Industries on the...

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