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Microsoft will give Skype chatbots a voice next year

Finally, a customer service agent that won’t put you on hold.
Tom Regan, @grapedosmil
December 14, 2016
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Not content with just stuffing Cortana into your home appliances, Microsoft now wants you to have real conversations with needy Skype bots. In a bid to make those awkward chatbot encounters feel more natural, next year will see the company granting third parties access to its Skype calling API. With this, Microsoft partners like StubHub and Expedia will be able to give their bots a voice, offering users an alternative to text chat.

Aside from being more engaging conversationalists, these talking bots will also be able to use video, audio and GIFs in Skype chat windows.

While Microsoft's push to make scripted interactions less painful is certainly admirable, and makes sense given the trend towards more natural voice controls, these Skype chatbots will have something to prove. In an age where all we want is to achieve our daily tasks as quickly as possible, the last thing we want to do is actually talk to anyone -- and for many, that still includes relatively helpful robots.

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