How Microsoft is using bots and AI for its workers
- Microsoft is keeping employees focused and productive with a calendar scheduling bot and a conversational bot, reports ZDNet.
- The conversational Skype bot, SwitchBot, uses machine learning to focus conversations on task- and emotion-centric themes and to help workers disconnect and reconnect from their work. This allows workers to make the most of their work and personal time and transition between the two more efficiently, according to the report.
- The Calendar.help chatbot uses Cortana like a human assistant to request, coordinate and schedule meetings across Microsoft platforms, such as Office 365 and Outlook.com, as well as Google's calendar platform.
Bots have as many uses internally for a company as they do interfacing with customers. Microsoft's conversational bots ease the burdens of scheduling or plugging in for workers, and that's just the start of how Microsoft is marrying advanced technology tools with workers to improve productivity and access.
Microsoft's artificial intelligence-based Seeing AI, which is publicly available, uses machine learning and computer vision to help individuals with visual impairments see. A Microsoft employee uses the app to find a correct conference room or order food in the cafeteria, according to CEO Satya Nadella in an interview for Freakonomics.
AI is improving inclusivity for many groups of workers that have been left behind, especially in the technology space. The latest version of Windows includes Eye Gaze, a tool to help individuals with amyotophic lateral sclerosis type using their gaze, Nadella said in an interview with McKinsey. Tools in Word and OneNote also help individuals with dyslexia to improve reading.
"It’s powerful stuff, and it’s a very practical way for executives to deploy some of these tools so that more people in their workforces can fully participate, which is important," Nadella said.
Outside of Microsoft, other companies are working on a variety of bots, AI tools and practices to keep workers engaged — a difficult task for workers glued to their computers all day. For improved overall efficiency, it's important to have these tools run the gamut from improving access for workers with special needs to simply reminding an employee to unplug at the end of the day.
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