Cortana, Microsoft

The competition between who can emerge as the leading voice assistant is starting to heat up. Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are all working to further expand the functionalities of their AI-powered services. One such application of the voice assistant has been detailed by Microsoft in a newly discovered patent application.

First spotted by MSPoweruser, the Redmond giant not only plans to bring Cortana into our living rooms to blurb out updates and calendar appointments. It wants the AI-powered, voice-activated assistant to come in handy for the different situation we’ve faced with on the daily. The patent application defines that the company is turning to Cortana to help you in the setup process of devices you install in the house. In simple words, the automation of the setup process with help from AI voice assistants.

Yes, that is a pretty neat thought and will surely be an impressive feature to flaunt the powers of Cortana. This basically means that Microsoft’s uber-smart voice assistant may soon be able to assist you in setting up that newly purchased router, for which you have to sometimes scour the interwebs or the physical instruction manual. Talking about the same, the patent application writes:

At least some embodiments described herein relate to a digital assistance device that at least partially automatically sets up a device so as to operate within a system of one or more other devices. The digital assistance device at least partially automates the setup process that would usually come with a quick start guide.

This is made possible by digitalizing the quick start guide so as to be at least partially interpretable by the digital assistance device. The digital assistance device can thereby determine, for each step, what it can do based on its information and capability, but also how the instructions can be simplified based on what it knows, and for what it cannot do, it passes all or a portion of the quick start guide for that step to the user via an intractable interface. Accordingly, potential manual setup tasks are offloaded to automation, thereby simplifying the setup of a device through technical automation.

While the feature sounds impressive, the process to seamlessly make this work involves some heavy lifting, where the company will have to digitize their instruction manual. And that too, in a manner such that Cortana can at least understand the text partially and support you in the process. It is not like the Cortana from Halo will appear out of nowhere to set up your devices. You only will have to take care of the same.

In the patent application, Microsoft believes that the said feature can be employed in a wide variety of devices such as — handheld devices, appliances, laptop computers, desktop computers, mainframes, distributed computing systems, datacenters, or even other unconventional products. This will best serve its purpose if you can hear, as well as witness the whole setup process in real-time via Microsoft’s goggles — HoloLens or mixed reality headsets. Hoping to see this integrated into Cortana soon enough!

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