Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
Cortana is described by Microsoft, its creator, as a "digital assistant." It uses the Bing search engine to produce information answers to users, and also offers reminders, notebook features and calendar options. Cortana ships with various Microsoft operating systems for computers and other devices, including Windows 10 Mobile.
Released in 2014, Cortana is in many ways Microsoft’s answer to Apple's more famous Siri system that is built into modern iPhones. Both of these virtual assistants work rather similarly – both of them are able to take questions and input from users, and answer in a way that simulates a kind of artificial intelligence.
A defining characteristic of Cortana, and other similar intelligent programs of its time, is the limited ability to vibrantly demonstrate conversational ability. While Cortana can answer basic questions, there are a multitude of scenarios in which Cortana or any other competitive virtual assistant is practically incapable of conversation.
The boundaries of conversation being rather tightly drawn, it is quickly evident to a human user that the voice that they are interacting with is not fully sentient. This brings into question the use of philosophies like the Turing principle to ask whether future machines may be endowed with much more comprehensive intelligent interactive technologies.