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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?