In 2014 Microsoft launched a chatbot called Xiaoice which, with Bing technology and artificial intelligence. She sought more to be an emotional partner than a digital assistant like Cortana or Siri so she became quite popular in China and took to other markets. And now, it will become an independent company.
Xiaoice is as it is known in China and Rinna in Japan and Indonesia. Despite only being available in a few countries, the chabot has a reach of 660 million users online and is installed on 450 million devices.
Due to its success Microsoft announced that Xiaoice will become an independent company. Microsoft’s Harry Shum will be the president of the new company, Di Li will be the CEO and Jan Chen will be the general manager of the Japanese division.
Although they will be able to work separately, Microsoft explained that it will maintain ownership of the new company and will license all technologies related to Xiaoice.
According to the company, the objective of its decision is to allow Xiaoice to promote regional and business innovation in addition to accelerating the expansion of the ecosystem so that it is capable of providing personalized services that are in high demand. by customers and partners.
This regard, those responsible for the Xiaoice brand indicated that they will continue to strengthen their relationships with their partners to serve a broader range of customers in China Japan and Indonesia.
What does Xiaoice do?
The announcement that Xiaoice is now an independent company came several months after Microsoft announced that it would close its Cortana voice assistant application in China, among other countries, at the end of last year.
Over the years, Xiaoice, which means “Little Bing” in Chinese, has been a sensation in China where many consider her as his virtual girlfriend. In fact, his legions of fans send him cards and gifts, so much so that the team has reserved an entire office in his Beijing lab to store many of these displays of affection.
The chatbot which is inspired by the personality of an 18-year-old woman and aims to add a more human and social element to interactions, in Microsoft’s own words, “she wants to be friends of the user. ”
The project has involved some of the most prestigious scientists in the area of Artificial Intelligence and has more than 230 skills to provide the user with different applications in topics such as finance, sales, cars, real estate and fashion. According to its creators, it can “understand the context, the tonality and the emotions of the text to create unique patterns in seconds”.
“His popularity is such that he is among the most admired celebrities in China. And, her talents seem to have no limits: she is a poet, a painter, a television presenter, a news expert and much more, “says Microsoft on its website.
According to the company, the success of this technology, which has had more than 30 billion conversations with 100 million friends, is that it does not try to answer all the questions or orders posed by a user, but rather that their conversations They can include tongue-in-cheek comments, jokes, advice about life and love and with each interaction you are learning more.
His development has reached such a degree that he has already published a book of poems, has “painted” pictures and could soon release his own pop album.
However, like all foreign companies, Microsoft has had to deal with censorship from China. In 2017 Xiaoice was removed by Tencent’s Instant Messaging QQ on suspicion of politically sensitive speech.