Microsoft’s endeavours to accelerate its investments in AI continue. The company has acquired XOXCO, a company that builds conversational artificial intelligence and bots.
Some of XOXCO’s feats include the creation of Howdy, a bot that helps users schedule meetings on Slack, a popular online and digital workspace. It also created Botkit, which provides the development tools used by users on GitHub.
“At Microsoft, we envision a world where natural language becomes the new user interface, enabling people to do more with what they say, type and input, understanding preferences and tasks and modeling experiences based on the way people think and remember.”
Recently, Microsoft also introduced new guidelines for developing responsible conversational AI.
“These guidelines are just that – guidelines. They represent the things we’ve found helpful to think through, especially when designing bots that have the potential to affect people in consequential ways, such as helping them navigate information related to employment, finances, physical health and mental well-being. In these situations, we’ve learned to pause and ask: Is this a situation in which it’s important to make sure there are people involved to provide judgement, expertise and empathy?”
The XOXCO deal is one in a series of acquisitions of AI companies by Microsoft. The company bought Semantic Machines in May, Lobe in September, as well as GitHub in October.