Microsoft's receptionist of the future is a robot. Chief Research and Strategy officer Craig Mundie demonstrated a software based robot that uses a combination of visual and voice recognition as well as speech synthesis to handle basic tasks. Microsoft itself plans to use the software robot to handle shuttle requests in its own buildings, which typically have a pair of receptionists to handle visitors and shuttle requests.
In a video, two Microsoft employees approach the robot, who said (in a rather robotic voice) “Which building do you want to go to?”
After checking that she heard the visitors correctly, and double-checking both workers want to take the same shuttle, the robot declares: “It should be here in four minutes.”
“This is what a natural user interface is all about and it won't be just a receptionist,” Mundie said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”