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Microsoft talks up new artificial intelligence buy

Microsoft has acquired "conversational" AI firm Semantic Machines as it looks to improve the natural responses of its virtual assistant Cortana and other digital chatbots.

The technology giant said that while most virtual assistants of today could respond to basic commands and queries, the future of the tech was likely to lie in a more conversational approach.

Semantic Machines, which is based in Berkeley, California, uses machine learning to make bots respond in more natural ways to questions and make exchanges more conversational.

Microsoft's chief technology officer of its AI and research wing David Ku said: "With the acquisition of Semantic Machines, we will establish a conversational AI centre of excellence in Berkeley to push forward the boundaries of what is possible in language interfaces.

"We're excited to bring the Semantic Machines team and their technology to Microsoft."

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