In Microsoft's view, bots should be available everywhere, and it is practicing what it is preaching by announcing Cortana integration for Skype on Wednesday.

At Microsoft's annual Build conference held in San Francisco, Skype's Program Manager Lilian Rincon demonstrated how its users will soon be able to chat with its digital assistant Cortana to have her help them get tasks done.

With a chat-like interface, users will be able to talk to Cortana in Skype and ask her to do things like add an item to their calendar, book a trip or even order a pizza directly from the video chat platform.

Cortana will pick up on the service needed to complete a specific task, and bring in another bot to further help with this request, such as a bot that can help the user make a hotel reservation.

This would make digital assistants feel more like personal assistants, where they manage which bots are needed in the conversation and get rid of them when the task is done.

The digital assistant can even help the Skype user shop, then get in contact with the company so that the items are delivered to the right location.

The demo also showed Cortana being able to read a transcript of a chat and then highlight words to bring up information cards that are powered by Bing.

Skype also launched its new Skype Bot SDK program, which allows businesses and brands to create their own bots. This would allow customers to be able to video chat with a character that it is in a virtual world.

Microsoft's HoloLens for Skype also launched today, bringing yet another immersive way to communicate on the app.

Not only is Microsoft integrating Cortana into Skype, but it also wants more bots available in other communication services, like Slack and Outlook.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has plans to further use machine learning technology to be able to have bots interact with people to increase their productivity and make their lives easier. This shouldn't worry people about machines taking over.

"It's not going to be man versus machines. It's going to be man with machines," he said.

Nadella sees bots as the next apps, where, instead of searching the Web ourselves, the AI will just do things for us like a butler.

This comes right after Microsoft's AI chatbot Tay had to be pulled for turning into a racist, but at least the company is still optimistic.

The last version of Skype for iOS, Android and Windows is not available; however, it's not clear which bots will be available with this launch.

Source: Tech Radar 

Photo: iphonedigital | Flickr

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