Skype is getting infused with conversational “bots”

An army of AI helpers promise to arrange appointments, order food, and book hotels, and more.

Microsoft is hoping to make Skype conversations a bit smarter by injecting then with artificial intelligence.

At its Build 2016 conference, Microsoft demonstrated how Cortana, along with other third-party “bots,” can provide more information and potential actions as part of Skype messaging. As a basic example, Cortana will highlight key parts of a conversation, which users can tap on to pull up more information.

But that’s just the beginning. During any conversation, users will also be able to pull up a private AI chat window, where they can talk to Cortana and other bots.

Say for instance that you’re talking to someone about an upcoming event. You can then ask Cortana to mark your calendar, and it’ll automatically fill in location details from that conversation. At that point, your preferred hotel chain might chime in with a reservation offer. Cortana could then remind you that you have friends in the area, and offer to connect with them during the trip.

Ambitious as that sounds, Microsoft is releasing the first version of these bots today in Skype for Windows, iOS, and Android. Still, it’ll be up to third-party developers to build out the bots functionality, using a software development kit that Microsoft is also now offering.

Down the road, similar intelligence will be coming to video conversations. Microsoft plans to offer video bots for connecting with businesses, brands, and possibly even entertainment characters, though the company didn’t demonstrate these functions during its keynote.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags skype

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?