Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant, has had a bit of an upgrade in the compassion department after someone found out how unhelpful it was when it came to medical emergencies.
Maneesh Juneja, who is a ‘Digital Health Futurist’ (we’re not sure what that means, either) found that when he told Cortana “I'm bleeding,” rather than springing into action to provide helpful information, the voice assistant instead simply replied “Interesting”. Not terribly useful.
You can watch the whole interaction below in his tweet:
I told #Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, “I’m bleeding” - the response was weird #DigitalHealth #AI pic.twitter.com/mTNrDGpDZ2April 10, 2018
An improved bed-side manner
The tweet was clearly seen by Microsoft, which worked quickly to improve Cortana’s response. Now, the voice assistant gives you helpful information, as well as urging you to seek medical help and providing a link to NHS advice (if you’re in the UK, at least).
You can see the new response in Juneja’s following tweet:
Kudos to Microsoft. Shortly after I tweeted the earlier video of #Cortana's unimpressive response to "I'm bleeding" @robmargel pinged me to say try again, we've updated the response #AI #DigitalHealth pic.twitter.com/Oz99pV7wwaApril 10, 2018
It’s good to see that Microsoft acted so quickly to update Cortana, but it does show that the companies behind these voice assistants need to seriously look at how they respond to potential emergencies in the future, especially if they want us to become increasingly dependant on these AI-powered assistants.