Patent published on November 21, 2023

Microsoft's Patent Could Make Cortana Learn From User Frustrations

In an era where we are increasingly dependent on smart devices for guidance, information, and day-to-day services, the struggle to communicate effectively with these devices continues to be a common source of frustration. Speaking into a device, whether it's a Smart-TV, a smartwatch, or a voice-controlled speaker, and receiving a blank stare or an “I don’t understand” in return is enough to make anyone throw their hands up in exasperation. Patent no. US11822859B2 attempts to tackle this roadblock.

The core issue being dealt with here revolves around the inability of these smart devices to comprehend and execute new commands given by the user. Existing devices lack the ability to learn or associate performances from the user’s commands. This learning gap leads to failed activity initiation or performance, causing user dissatisfaction and frustration, thus depreciating the value of these "smart" devices.

Microsoft's latest patent, titled 'Self-learning digital assistant,' presents a solution to this issue. According to the patent, the system alters the standard device reaction to an unknown command. Instead of disregarding the novel command or merely indicating its unfamiliarity, the system studies the user's subsequent activity. In simpler terms, the system watches and learns from the user's actions performed after the given unknown command. It uses this information to build an association between the command and the resultant operations.

We are looking at a future where our digital assistants will not just react to our commands but will also learn from them. Imagine asking your smart speaker to turn up the heating and it actually understanding and caring out the instruction without being previously programmed to do so, or having your favorite song play without having to specify what it is each time. This is the world Microsoft's patent is trying to shape up.

In everyday scenarios, this could range from your home alarm system setting up at your command, to your TV recording your favorite game, or even your lights turning off just when you need them to. If successfully implemented, this patent could help create "intelligent" devices that truly live up to the name by learning and growing with each user interaction.

However, it's essential to remember that this is currently just a patent - there's no guarantee that it will become a reality in the consumer market. It represents a concept, a possibility of what we might be able to experience in the future. Until then, we will just have to make do knowing that our devices are doing their best, even if they don't completely understand us yet.

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