Encarta integration with MSN messenger

Encarta integration with MSN messenger

1. Open MSN Messenger and sign in.        
2. Add Encarta as a contact: encarta@conversagent.com .  
3. Double click Encarta from your Contact List.       
3. Ask a question! 

Is it perfect? No. Is it something new? Not at all. In fact, it’s pretty much just a classic “ELIZA”-type front-end paired with a general “facts” database. But as ELIZA showed, it’s not that hard to produce a passably convincing conversation-bot, at least for a few sentences. Couple that with a big database and you’re taking a shot at a few of the deep layers that make up a human intelligence – basic natural language parsing ability and random access to a large database.

Next steps:

  • Abstracted - why tie it to Encarta? CPow - there should be a level of abstraction between the agent and the database, so that it can be used in a more portable, configurable fashion. Empower the people who can use it in ways you couldn't imagine before, and they'll drive revenue your way.
  • Federated - Just as you can subscribe to RSS feeds (or PICS raters, if that had caught on), why not subscribe to services - some free, some for pay. The forces of darkness can subscribe to an agent that simply answers all questions with "Trust the deity."
  • Voice Recognition – call it and ask a question. Again, nothing new.
  • Location Aware - GPS to provide relevance. Google and friends are already doing this in the mobile space.
  • Portable - you can stick Wikipedia on a flash card and carry it with you. Now stick a voice agent on the front end. All services should be written to be host-agnostic, so it can run on a server in the cloud or on a device in your pocket.
  • Situationally Aware - as battery power drops, just keep it on all the time. If you're discussing something (say, a movie) there's no reason your portable, voice-aware agent shouldn't look up the IMDB entry and the local movie times for you. Similarly, when you ask about the velocity of an unladen swallow, there's no reason it shouldn't have the screen prepared with "African or European?"