When most people use automated speech recognition technology today, it’s because they have a task that needs to get done: A person to call, directions to get, a quick text to send.
In China, millions of people are using this type of natural language processing in a much more human way: To carry on a casual conversation with a Microsoft technology called XiaoIce.
Hsiao-Wuen Hon, corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft Research Asia, sees XiaoIce as an example of the vast possibility that artificial intelligence holds — not to replace human tasks and experiences, but rather to augment them. This way in which advanced technology is increasingly being used to create very human experiences is just beginning, he noted.
“We’ve just barely scratched the surface,” he said.