Microsoft's bots could lead to a service industry takeover

The possibilities begin with pizza

Microsoft Bot Framework

Microsoft is no stranger to computers that can communicate after introducing Cortana, but now the Windows 10 maker is going one step further and introducing bots capable of machine learning.

To this end, Microsoft has introduced the Bot Framework, a software platform that allows developers to create bots for Skype, Slack, and of course, ordering pizzas from Domino's through Skype and SMS text messaging.

While on stage, Microsoft ordered a pizza by simply saying "Please send me a large pepperoni pizza" and the bot in turn asked whether they wanted regular or the hot dog crust. What's more, the Dominos bot can also decipher slang and phrases outside of the traditional dictionary. For example, you can substitute the delivery address with telling the bot you want the pizza sent to your crib.

Caption Bot

Microsoft also demoed a more serious Caption Bot, which analyzes objects in images and tries to decipher a caption to explain what it is or give some form of additional context for the user. For text, Microsoft had a different tool to show off called CRIS, and it basically is a smart speech-to-text tool that reads text and translates speech.

"As an industry, we are on the cusp of a new frontier that pairs the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Solutions like CRIS and the Caption Bot are possible thanks to the Cortana Intelligence Suite. Built on back bone of Microsoft Azure, this cloud computing platform runs intelligence APIs designed to interpret how we communicate though sight and hearing.

But before you think Microsoft is spying on you, much of this work is being done in labs to build up Microsoft's Bot Framework. The Redmond-based company hopes developers will use all its resources to build intelligent bots that can communicate with users using natural language on a wide variety of platforms including text/SMS, Office 365, Skype, Slack, the Web and more.

Developers can start building out helpful bots by heading over to Microsoft's cognitive services website and downloaded the APIs to start building better programs today.

Article continues below