Patent published on September 7, 2023

Microsoft's New Patent Could Make Cortana Conversations Easier

In an increasingly digital world, the flow of conversation with our Siri's, Alexa's and Cortana's has become a part of our routine. However, have you ever been frustrated when your digital assistant gets confused between similar topics, resulting in an unnecessary back-and-forth? There seems to be a light at the end of this tunnel. Microsoft Technology Licensing has proposed a solution to this commonly faced issue in their recently published patent, US20230283582A1, titled "Topic Overlap Detection in Messaging Systems".

At present, when users input commands, the artificial intelligence can often identify multiple related topics and find it challenging to pinpoint exactly what the user is inquiring about. As an example, if a user says something about "dogs", the system might pop up information about "puppies", "dog food", "veterinarians", and so forth. This results in tedious unnecessary dialogue as the AI attempts to figure out what the user specifically wants. In essence, this overlapping topic issue bogs down the system and dilutes the overall user experience.

Microsoft's new patent proposes to tackle this problem head-on. The system flags similar topics, those with overlapping keywords or 'trigger phrases', and allows for edits to make them distinct from each other. This brilliant innovation could mean that next time you ask your AI about "dogs", it would know exactly what you're referring to, without tripping up over other related subject matter.

This technology could make a practical difference in everyday lives. Imagine being in a hurry and asking your phone to bring up the "weather". Instead of asking you to specify which city's weather you would like to know about, as it first spotted a previous conversation around the weather in Tokyo, the advanced AI would straightaway bring up your local forecast, as it now knows better. The process becomes far more efficient, and users don't have to waste time clarifying their needs to an AI.

This innovation could elevate the functionality of Microsoft Cortana and similar conversational AI systems, improving their performance and increasing their efficiency in interacting with users. More importantly, this proposed technology could potentially lessen the need for additional queries, reduce memory consumption, and improve processing and network resources.

But before we get carried away, it is essential to remember that this is a patent, and as intriguing as it looks on paper, its application in real-world products is not guaranteed. It could take time for this refined conversational AI technology to roll out and become part and parcel of our digital lives. For now, the public and tech enthusiasts alike can only wait with bated breath to see these developments take shape and start transforming our interactions with artificial intelligence.

P.S. It is important to note that the technology outlined is a patent published by Microsoft Technology Licensing, and there's no absolute certainty that it will come to the market. Implementation of patented technologies in real products can take time or may never happen at all.

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