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Microsoft talks up 'conversations as a platform' at Build 2016

At Build 2016s opening keynote, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, talked up "conversations as a platform," taking human language and applying it to all of the company's computing.

Nadella claims it can have an impact as profound as previous big shifts, like the Graphical User Interface, the web and touch.

"Infusing intelligence into computers, teach computers to learn human language and have conversational understanding … Context about your preferences, your personal knowledge"

There's little interaction that comes as naturally as just speaking, whatever it is that you're speaking to. The power will be in the response. Microsoft is claiming three core principles:

1: Augment human abilities and experiences 2: Trustworthy 3: Inclusive and respectful

The now infamous Tay Twitter AI bot got a mention, too, and how it was launched but didn't reach the mark that Microsoft was aiming for. That's probably an understatement, but the overall idea is clear having heard Nadella speak. He also noted that social bots in Asia seem to be fairing a little better, and that incubation of such intelligence is important.

So Tay probably isn't the last we've seen from Microsoft. We just hope it goes better next time.

For more from Build 2016 be sure to follow our liveblog.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

11 Comments
  • For a regular consumer like I am, this build was pretty dull, last year was better. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Build is a developer conference. It's not meant to appeal to consumers ;-)
  • But this year is what could possibly enhance windows with more features and apps.
  • Well for the developer such as myself, this is the most exciting Build in some time.  
  • As a regular consumer, this BUILD was actually very exciting to me because the concepts shown in 2015 were now either shipping today or available in preview today, meaning I will start to be able to use them soon.
  • I recall that Satya after just being appointed said that he wanted things out of the labs getting into the real. He is definitely making that happen. HoloLens was groundbreaking last year. This year there is a huge shift to natural input being pen and natural language conversation using the artificial intelligence cognition tools. We will see this in real as consumers by Anniversary Update with new device types towards the end of the year. You call this dull?
  • Tay was pretty interesting, I thought. Unfortunate about its flaws. Hopefully it returns in finer form. Build was pretty good too but not as big as I was hoping. Windows Central for Windows 10-Microsoft Lumia 640
  • Remember this day, it is the day Nadella announced Skynet at BUILD... Posted from Windows Central on Windows 46 Interstellar Edition
  • Or Onenet since it is onedrive instead of skydrive :D
  • I really do want a Cortana 'Alexa' style box for the house...something that's always there.  Most people won't get this reference, but I would love an Ergo Audrey (google it) type device that would be there like Amazon's Alexa.
  • Absolutely agree!! Microsoft needs to bust out a pop-culture stand-alone device for Cortana that has feature parity with Alexa, PLUS all that Cortana can do already that Alexa can't. PLEASE DON'T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY MICROSOFT! Do not let Alexa capture the hearts and minds of the public away from what Cortana could be!