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Cortana could soon be taking down notes for you

by Felix Omondi

You would think that by now, you (and the rest of the world) would be used to taking notes. You have been doing it all through high school, college and began way earlier in your schooling. But won’t be great if you could just sit back and listen to the lecture or the meeting and at the end, be handed a write-up of who said what, when, where and at what time?

Well, that is about to become your reality if Microsoft pulls through with a new test program they’re currently running on Cortana. We learned of this development from a patent Microsoft recently filled; ‘Automatic capture of information from audio data and computer operating context.’

As it works out, Microsoft wants you to summon Cortana at the start of your lecture or meeting. Then have her do an audio recording of who is saying what, what time, what was said, and the follow-up activities. Then Cortana will have to transcribe all that from the recording into text written in a document. At the end of your meeting or lecture, you can just go over the written document that captured every detail of the meeting or lecture complete with a timestamp.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it gets even better! Microsoft further wants Cortana to take the liberty of going ahead and making schedules in your calendar with regards to what was said during the meeting or lecturer. Take, for instance, if the meeting was adjourned with the conclusion that there will be a follow-up meeting or a set of activities to take place at such a date, place, or time. Cortana, from the audio recording of the meeting, will go ahead and schedule that in your calendar.

Now, it does sound like human personal assistants (PA) are about to lose their jobs to these AI bots, doesn’t it? Especially if Microsoft executes the new Cortana feature flawlessly. I would advise people currently working as PAs to start looking for new jobs; take this news as a head start!

Already, Cortana (with your permission) reads through your emails in Outlook, and if it finds any commitments, you made. It automatically schedules it to your calendar. What Microsoft now wants to do, is to scale that technology and have Cortana transcribe your meetings and make a schedule on your calendar according to what is discussed in meetings.

The lead inventor of this beta program at Microsoft, Marc Pottier, had the following to say about the new Cortana feature currently in development:

“My team owns voice communications, People, and Presence. It’s an area that’s ripe for disruption, and our team is rethinking the way voice can be used to bring teams together, accelerate understanding, and help geographically dispersed teams feel connected and engaged. We’re also exploring how to use the content of people’s conversations to build personalized experiences which enable them to feel on top of what’s happening in the workplace. We hope to transform how people discover what other people are working on, learn about their background and experiences, and accelerate the pace of communications in the enterprise.”

You can read about the patent in full here.

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