The race is on between the big tech giants to develop the best artificially intelligent assistant on almost human parity levels and Zo is next in line.
It seems 2016 is the year of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant or indeed, chatbot. Their success depends on the machine's "IQ and EQ [Emotional Quotient — ability to understand the emotions of others]," Harry Shum executive VP of Microsoft's AI research group told a conference in San Francisco.
IQ has been developed by using deep learning techniques and speech recognition software and is essential if the bot is going to complete specific tasks.
There are thought to be 67,000 bot developers working on building chatbots for future businesses.
EQ, on the other hand, requires more emotional levels of intelligence, which is difficult to implement but necessary if the AI machine is to communicate in a more personal level with a human being.
"Conversation isn't just about getting things done. Chitchat establishes some kind of connection," Shum said, according to The Register.
Microsoft has had some success in China, where its bots are becoming more ubiquitous. But things didn't quite go to plan in the West with Tay, a bot that became heavily influenced by the algorithms of online racists and spouted stuff on Twitter that was so inappropriate and sexist — it had to be shut down.
Microsoft's Tay was an experiment in AI chat bot. Within 16 hours Tay was a racist, conspiracy theorist sexbot. #altc— Elizabeth Ellis (@liz_isabella) September 6, 2016
Microsoft explains what went wrong with Tay & what they've learned https://t.co/sq5rGWXKUA Compare Tay's reception w/ XiaoIce bot in China.— Mark Riedl 😧 (@mark_riedl) March 25, 2016
Zo, the new go to bot,has been in development since October 2016 and is all part of Microsoft's plan to learn how to develop better relationships between man and machine. Hopefully, Zo will be more polite.