Microsoft’s Eric Horvitz and his group at Microsoft Research are frequent users and big fans of Bayesian Networks. A famous example of their Bayesian inferencing software is their virtual receptionist:
From “Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog”:
Highlights: Microsoft TechFest
By Todd Bishop on February 25, 2009 at 9:41 PST
Once every year, researchers from Microsoft’s labs around the world gather in Redmond to show their latest projects. The event, TechFest, is a glimpse into the minds of the people responsible for pushing the bounds of technology inside the company. In some cases, it can also serve as a preview of future Microsoft products and features.
About 40 projects were on display for the media yesterday, out of more than 100 total this year, so we didn’t get to see everything. There could be some more jaw-dropping stuff for employees behind closed doors. But out of the projects we saw, these were some of the highlights.
Automated Receptionist: Also known as “Situated Interaction” this project from researcher Dan Bohus explores the ways humans and machines can interact. A lifelike on-screen avatar can help complete basic tasks, such as scheduling a shuttle.
The receptionist (pictured above) shifts her gaze when speaking with different people in a group, and tries to determine whether people are Microsoft employees or visitors depending on what they’re wearing (more formal attire usually means a guest, casual means a worker).
The project has been shown publicly in the past, but new capabilities this year include the ability to host a trivia game. If one person keeps getting stumped, the avatar turns and suggests another person help.
Microsoft Research’s Eric Horvitz says one possible future application would be next-generation elevators that could hold the door open when people are approaching, and tell them when they missed their floor.