We’ve all tried to show off our virtual assistants to our friends at one point or another, and been embarassed when it fails to recognise our voice command. But it is a whole new level of embarrassing when the CEO of a company can’t get their own virtual assistant to work properly. That too in the middle of a live presentation.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella was delivering a keynote address at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference. In the middle of demonstrating some productivity tools, he decided to use Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana. He wanted to showcase Cortana’s ability to understand voice commands and deliver relevant results. He asked Cortana, “Show me my most at-risk opportunities.” And the embarassment followed.
Cortana instead brought up a Bing search results page for “Show me to buy milk at this opportunity.”
Laughing it off, Nadella tried the same query again, but this time Cortana tried opening up Reminders. This lead to an annoyed “Oh Come on!” from the CEO. He tried to get Cortana to understand him one last time, but once that attempt ended in failure as well, he gave up.
It just goes to show that virtual assistants have a long way to go before they're truly ready for everyday use. Unless... the milk Nadella had in his refrigerator back home really was "at-risk" of going bad. If that's true, then voice assistants may have become too smart.
The video of the entire keynote can be found below. To see Nadella wrangle with Cortana, skip to the 10:30 mark.
Satya Nadella isn’t the only Microsoft CEO to be let down by its own software either. During a presentation, Windows 98 crashed during a presentation with Bill Gates standing by, but the man took it like a boss!