The Redmond, California, company has bought the Berkeley-based Semantic Machines, the company has announced in a blog post. Semantic Machines is an expert in what is known as conversational AI–natural language AI that people can have a conversation with, just as they would have a conversation with other human beings. Conversational AI can be a game changer in the digital assistant world. Right now, digital assistants like Siri, Google’s Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana are pretty limited; they really only know how to follow simple commands like “play a song” or “turn off the lights.”
Conversational AI would allow a person to interact with an assistant to not only carry on complex contextual conversations where each spoken sentence or request builds on the next, but also to understand the meaning of your requests or words without you explicitly stating them. Microsoft’s acquisition of Semantic Machines shows that they are all-in on conversational AI and see it as one of the most important ways people will interact with users in the future.