Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on Monday that chatbots will “fundamentally revolutionize how computing is experienced by everybody.” Nadella explained that for now, bots will augment apps, but in time, human language will be taught to all computers and become “the new interface.”
“So pretty much everyone today who is building applications whether they be mobile apps or desktop apps or websites will build bots as the new interface, where you have a human dialogue interface versus menus of the past,” he said.
Nadella spoke onstage at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, an annual developer gathering in Toronto.
He painted a similarly ambitious picture in April when Microsoft Bot Framework was launched at Build, Microsoft’s annual developer conference. A new Skype bot framework was announced last week. About 20,000 developers signed up to use the Microsoft Bot Framework in its first month. More than 30,000 developers have signed up to use the framework since then, Microsoft told VentureBeat.
“It’s about taking the power of human language and applying it more pervasively to all of our computing. That means we need to into infuse into computers and computing intelligence about us and our context,” said Nadella, adding that the impact of chatbots could be as profound in impact as the Web, touch screen phones, or the transition to mobile.
Throughout this spring, Microsoft announced plans to incorporate Cortana or text chatbots into Office 365 email, Skype, and several other applications.
While Microsoft may be best known for the biggest Turing Test in history and a racist bot that eventually ended up smoking weed in front of the police, Redmond’s deep history with AI, abundant resources and massively popular platforms should not be overlooked. It’s likely that chatbots are central to Microsoft’s strategy to compete against the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon, each with its own bot platform.