Microsoft has developed a technology that allows robots to interact with people in a natural way. This could be the future of Cortana.
Visitors to the building in which is located the office of Eric Horvitz, the head of Microsoft Research labs will be greeted by at least two robots that use artificial intelligence to interact with people. After reaching the desired floor, using the smart elevator , meet before a small humanoid robot that will provide directions to the office and then a virtual assistant positioned in front of the door. Both are part of the project Situated Interation, with which Microsoft tries to integrate into machines situational awareness and a ‘social intelligence.
The project is based on the integration of different technologies – machine learning, natural language processing, speech recognition, automated planning, machine vision, acoustic and sociolinguistics analysts – with the goal of creating systems and processes that interact automatically with several people . Microsoft wants to develop robots that have an awareness of time and space, in order to recognize the surrounding environment and the people they interact with, anticipating their intentions through the notion of short-term memory and long term.
The little robot receptionist, for example, sees people in front of him and gives directions to the office, using the movements of the arms and hands. At the end, the robot adds another piece of information: “Monica is waiting for you.” Monica is another robot that works as a personal assistant to the Microsoft executive, and as a secretary in the flesh, he knows his commitments and determines whether it can receive visitors.
The virtual assistant can detect the presence of Horvitz’s office, read calendar appointments and predict when it will end its work, when he reads the email and when it will end a conversation, based on the analysis of past habits. Monica and the humanoid robot using Kinect for Windows to recognize people.
Situated Interaction technology can be applied in different areas. The features incorporated in the systems developed by Microsoft researchers clearly represent the future of Cortana, the personal assistant of Windows Phone 8.1 . In the future, Cortana will not only provide answers and advice to the individual user, but will interact with the servers of other people, giving life to a close collaboration between humans and virtual.