You may have noticed Microsoft making a big song and dance about AI bots at its Build conference last week. The company has now introduced a few of them to Skype, with two further offerings now being brought to the messaging service.
So what do the new Skype bots, which are called Murphy and Summarize, actually do? Murphy (based on Redmond's Project Murphy) is designed to respond to 'what if' questions and is powered by Microsoft Cognitive Services. It draws from knowledge services including Bing, and attempts to respond to these queries as relevantly as possible.
The twist is the answer will come in the form of one or several images, if the right question is asked, and the idea is that Murphy will become smarter as more people use the bot (as with all machine learning projects).
Summarize, on the other hand, is of more practical use and pretty much does what it says on the tin: you chuck the link for a web page at the bot, and it summarises the page, condensing the text down to three paragraphs to make it more easily digestible.
That could be pretty handy for those in a rush.
As we saw last week, Redmond has big plans for bots which are designed to help run our lives more smoothly, with the company keen to point out that these AI entities will be built with trustworthiness and respectfulness firmly in mind.
And hopefully they'll be better guarded against the prospect of their user base attempting to warp them, as recently happened with the denizens of Twitter and Microsoft's hapless Tay bot.
- Also have a read of: Here's why Cortana leaves Siri and Google Now in the dust
Sign up to receive daily breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis, deals and more from the world of tech.
Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).