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Microsoft is betting big on AI chatbots like Tay

The ghost of Clippy lives on.

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Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Tay, the AI-powered chatbot that ended up spewing hate speech on Twitter, is just the beginning for Microsoft. At its Build developer conference later today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will unveil a broader "conversation as a platform" strategy, which involves releasing many chatbots built for different purposes, Businessweek reports. You'll be able to message them just like Tay, but we'll also get a glimpse of bots built into Skype that can do things like book hotel rooms. Just like its aim for Windows 10 apps last year, Microsoft is hoping to get developers excited by the idea of building bots at Build.

Microsoft is hoping to replicate the success of WeChat in China, a messaging app that lets you do things like shop, buy movie tickets and order taxis. Plenty of other companies are also looking closely at bots: Facebook has its M virtual assistant, and Amazon has Alexa, which works like a chatbot even though you actually have to talk to it. The main idea with all of these products is to deliver information, or accomplish simple tasks, without having to deal with an app or website.

This new initiative is an important one for Nadella, as it's the first new Microsoft project that he's entirely responsible for. Microsoft will try to prove to developers at Build that it's simple to build bots, and it'll show off demos to prove that they can be useful, like ordering a Domino's pizza.

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