In the wake of growing adoption and awareness of artificial intelligence, more technology companies appear to be efforts to incorporate this tech into their operations. One of the main ways that these companies are doing so is by acquiring already established artificial intelligence (AI) startups. This effort is allowing the big tech companies to flex their muscles in artificial intelligence even without prior experience or expertise in the field. For instance, Microsoft recently bought Semantic Machines, a machine learning startup, in a move intended to spearhead conversational artificial intelligence into its Azure Bot Service and Cortana.
Semantic Machine, the California-based startup, not only utilizes machine learning but also adds context to interactions with chatbots. This entails the use of information obtained from artificial intelligence and using it in future conversations. The startup is managed and operated by a combination of conversational artificial intelligence gurus such as Stanford University professor Percy Liang, former Apple chief speech scientist Larry Gillick, UC Berkeley professor Dan Klein and entrepreneur Dan Roth. Previously, Semantic Machine ’s speech recognition team led Siri’s speech recognition at Apple.
Although Microsoft did not divulge any financial information regarding the acquisition, the company hopes to include Semantic Machine into its ongoing project in conversational artificial intelligence. Doing so will help Microsoft not only in enhancing it natural language but also speech recognition understanding. According to its latest reports, about 30,000 developers utilize its Azure Bot Services while another one million developers leverage its cognitive services.
According to David Ku, the chief technology officer (CTO) at Microsoft AI and Research, through the acquisition of Semantic Machines, the company will create a conversational artificial intelligence center of excellence in Berkeley in a bid to push boundaries of what is achievable with language interfaces.
David Ku also said that by integrating intelligence advances with Semantic Machines’ technology, the company intends to provide natural, powerful and a more productive conversational computing to an entirely new level.
Based on the current trend, big technology players such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft are doing their best to make their personal assistants to be more like humans. In fact, Amazon has asserted that it is looking forward to providing Alexa with a memory as well as include additional context to conversations. On the other hand, Google recently displayed a chat between a human-like version of its assistant and a hairdresser that booked a hairdo on another person’s behalf.
Artificial intelligence-driven personal assistants are key to voice-activated speakers such as Google’s Home and Amazon’s Echo. Although its smart speaker, it collaborated with Harman Kardon, an audio firm, in an attempt to incorporate its Cortana assistant with Invoke, a smart speaker.
Looking at different efforts by technology companies including the increased acquisition of artificial intelligence-based startups, it is safe to assume that the tech will revolutionize the world’s technology considerably. As such, a lot more can be expected not only from the advancement of this technology but also from the world’s largest tech firms and artificial intelligence startups.