The tech giant introduces another AI chatbot, Zo.ai, but is limiting the topics it's able to address.
Mary Jo Foley
Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network.
Kik users who've downloaded the Zo preview note that Microsoft's latest chatbot is locked down tightly, presumably to prevent another Tay-like rampage. For example, Zo isn't willing to discuss politics.
I asked Microsoft when it plans to expand access to Zo.ai to Skype or other networks, but haven't heard back.
Tay.ai, created together by the Microsoft Research and Bing teams, was aimed at 18- to 24-year-olds. The Bing team developed an earlier conversational bot, Xiaoice, for the Chinese market, which officials referred to as "Cortana's little sister." Before Microsoft took Tay offline, it was available on Twitter, Snapchat, Kik and GroupMe.