Microsoft patent hints at a more human-like Cortana

The digital assistant will sound less like a machine and speak more naturally.

A newly discovered Microsoft patent hints that Microsoft is developing more personalized, “human-like” responses for Cortana, so she sounds less generic and speaks to the user directly using personal information.

The patent describes how user-specific information and contextual information is retrieved by querying a user profile database and one or more services, which generates a personalized greeting based on user-specific information, such as user inferences and interests, and the contextual information to generate the personalized greetings for presentation by the digital assistant on the client device.

“A goal of the personalized greeting system described herein is to mimic a human experience with the user. Providing the same greeting to the user twice in one day is not typical of how the user would be greeted by a human,” the patent said

The contextual greetings operate over the course of a day based on everything from your birthday to your favorite sports teams. Since the information would be dynamically shared between PC and mobile devices, you’d have this relationship of sorts with all of your devices and throughout the day.

As an example, Microsoft stated in the patent description:

“If the user accesses his/her laptop in the morning, and his/her mobile device in the afternoon on the day of the user’s birthday, the system would know to now greet the user with “Happy Birthday!” both times, but rather to greet the user the first time with “Happy Birthday!” and greet the user the second time with, “Hope you are having a wonderful day!”

So, it looks like Hollywood was on to something with the movie Her. I think I would prefer Kate Beckinsale’s voice to Scarlet Johansson, though.