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Windows Update Equips Cortana With Ability To Make You Feel Guilty For Promises Not Kept

9 February 2017, 9:41 pm EST By Chris Loterina Tech Times
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Microsoft has updated Cortana with a Suggested Reminders feature, which can recognize and nag about promises a user has made. If the feature is activated the Windows assistant will begin to act more on her own.  ( Microsoft )

Microsoft is now rolling out a feature called Suggested Reminders, which has been announced in January. This particular update is quite interesting and possibly polarizing for some users because it will now remind you to keep promises that you made.

Microsoft is phrasing the feature as a more proactive function that will be helpful to users. It builds on what the company touts as an even smarter version of Cortana.

How Does It Work?

To provide Cortana the smarts to effectively carry out its new ability, Microsoft has tapped its machine learning arsenal, particularly that one that focuses on languages.

Things seem simpler on paper but identifying what is a promise from the plethora of the user's previous pronouncements entails parsing different language contexts. This is the reason a dedicated deep-learning AI was required.

The Suggested Reminders will mainly draw from the user's sent emails for insights. For example, if you told a friend that you are going to share a guacamole recipe, Cortana should be able to interpret it as a promise made and will promptly ask you if you want to set a reminder for it.

As of now the feature can only crawl Outlook emails as well as messages sent from Office 365 business and school accounts. Microsoft promised that support for other email platforms will eventually come soon.

Opting Out Of Cortana's Nags

Naturally, there are people who might not like the idea of an intrusive AI that can pester you about previous pledges. This has been demonstrated in the way similar proactive Windows 10 notifications caused uproars for persistently encroaching desktop spaces.

The case is further highlighted by the fact that the proactive nature of the update means that Cortana will be increasingly acting on her own without any input from the user.

If you belong to this crowd, then you should not worry since Cortana will need a communication consent before it could nag users about this promise business.

How To Use Suggested Reminders

But if you want to try the new feature out, you have to connect your Outlook or your Office 365 email to Cortana's notebook via the connected services feature. 

According to Microsoft, the update is currently rolling out in the background, so you will probably have no inkling whether your device or your PC has implemented the change. It is worth noting that Cortana is a service and won't require a new Windows 10 system.

Now, AIs or technologies with machine learning capabilities are not yet functioning like the human brain and Cortana is no different. It is not yet capable of perfectly detecting promises and commitments. At this point, you have to remember to include key elements in your message to trigger the function such as tasks and deadlines. These data often include dates or schedules.

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