Xiaoice Microsoft CNN
Xiaoice AI

Chatbots and messaging apps may be a bit of a hard sell in the U.S., but in China they’re seeing increasing use. You can utilize them to buy merchandise from websites and street vendors, and now to control your home.

Microsoft has announced the fifth version of its Xiaoice AI it and adds control for Xiaomi’s smart home devices. The two companies have partnered to utilize Xiaomi’s Internet of Things platform.

However, this is far from an exclusive agreement. Microsoft is also looking to partner with other companies to provide similar functionality and target more platforms. We can expect to see compatibility with other smart home devices as the bot evolves.

30 Billion Rounds of Dialogue

Thankfully, it appears to be doing so quickly. The AI has now been used by more than 100 million people worldwide, with over 30 billion rounds of dialogue. It can both speak with users over the phone and detect intent via facial expressions and live video.

It signals the overall goal the software giant has for Xiaoice. Speaking at the press conference, global executive vice president Shen Xiangtan said, “IQ is important, but what Microsoft wants is to do really well in EQ through Xiaoice.” 

For the unfamiliar, EQ refers to an AI’s emotional intelligence, its ability to understand humans. With it, there’s less room for misunderstanding, and more opportunity to give users what they need without them asking.

However, that’s not going to stop Microsoft from traditional usage, and Shen also talked a little about Office at the press conference.

“Our PowerPoint users may be surprised to find that they can use machine translation within the software,” he said as an example. “If they add a picture to a presentation, we can automatically help add captions.”

You can find Xiaoice on its relevant platforms by visiting the official website.