Cortana, Microsoft’s own virtual assistant, is now in all Windows 10 devices, including desktop PCs and laptops. Over the years, Cortana has evolved into a capable virtual assistant, even when compared to its rivals such as Siri and Google Assistant. Cortana is able to deliver a more personalized experience thanks to its clever machine learning dynamics.
There are actually some very interesting things about the learning nature of Cortana. Aside from using data from various sources, Cortana is actively observing usage patterns and other relevant inputs. Here are three interesting things to know about that process.
It Gets Personal
If you’re relatively new to using Cortana, among the first things it will do is try to get to know you better. As you engage Cortana in conversations and start using its features, you will get questions in return. In fact, Cortana now asks a number of questions when first activated. Questions about your favorite food, your interests, and other details allow Cortana to be smarter from the start.
As you use the virtual assistant more, it will be able to deliver more accurate information when asked. Queries such as “Cortana, show me the latest news” will no longer result in generic news stories, but news on topics that you actually love.
It doesn’t stop there either. Cortana and its machine learning mechanism are now capable of identifying personal preferences, so it can make better suggestions and more accurate search results as you use it more frequently. The next time you ask for a restaurant recommendation, it can offer you a selection of restaurants that match your personal preferences the closest.
Microsoft is one of the leading companies when it comes to advanced AI and active learning systems. It has had a lot of success with deep learning systems and implementations of deep learning. The Skype Translator feature is one of many examples of how well Microsoft has integrated advanced learning into its products.
Microsoft also implements deep learning as part of OneDrive. Photos are now tagged automatically and the system has been amazingly accurate in identifying images and assigning tags like ‘mountains’ and ‘skyscrapers’. Despite the success of deep learning implementation, Cortana is designed to be more than that.
It utilizes something called dynamic machine learning system. This method of learning doesn’t rely heavily on large chunks of data. Instead, it takes additional factors such as context and frequency into consideration.
It’s Getting Better
Cortana has the potential to become so much better in the near future. Top universities such as the New Jersey Institute of Technology and their online masters computer science programs are actively studying Cortana as a model of machine learning. Students of online masters in computer science are also contributing to the future of machine learning, including the deep learning system used by Cortana, through new inventions and techniques.
The future is looking bright for our beloved virtual assistant. As more people use Windows 10 and engage Cortana actively, it will be able to deliver a more personalized user experience more accurately.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.