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Even Microsoft's CEO now admits voice assistants like its own Cortana are "dumb as a rock"

Microsoft is pushing Bing Chat as the new way to search for information. Its chatbot AI is being developed as a "copilot" for users to help them not only find what they are looking for but also to help them be more creative. A few years ago, something similar was being pushed out to consumers: voice assistants. Now it looks like those efforts have fallen far short.

A new article in the Financial Times focuses on Amazon's big hopes with Alexa. Voice commands were supposed to help you turn your lights on and off, play music from your smart speaker, order items from Amazon's site and control your TV and security systems.

As it turns out, there's reportedly not much money to be made developing those kinds of voice assistants, and they didn't work as well as advertised. An Amazon spokesperson told FT that over 50 percent of its customers use the voice assistant to purchase items. However, earlier this year, Amazon laid off 18,000 employees, and the Alexa team was reportedly hit harder than normal.

Microsoft's own voice assistant, Cortana, didn't really get off the ground. Back in 2016, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was praising voice assistants, even going so far as to say, "Bots are the new apps." That prediction didn't come true and in 2021, Microsoft removed the Cortana mobile app from circulation.

Now, Nadella gets real in the FT article about voice assistants in general, including Cortana. He's quoted as saying: "They were all dumb as a rock." He added, "Whether it’s Cortana or Alexa or Google Assistant or Siri, all these just don’t work. We had a product that was supposed to be the new front-end to a lot of [information] that didn’t work.”

As such, Microsoft is now switching its strategy towards generative AI programs like Bing Chat in the hopes it will work the way Cortana did not. We have commented about how Microsoft's previous attempts at chatbot AI have been mixed. It remains to be seen if Bing Chat will be a true revolution in interacting with technology, or if it will go the way Cortana did.

Source: Financial Times

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