Soul Machines and Microsoft partner to advance AI that delivers emotional connections

 |   Microsoft New Zealand News Centre

Collaboration set to expand the use of autonomously animated digital people and boost innovation in AI with empathy 

Auckland, New Zealand, 14 December 2021 – Soul Machines and Microsoft have signed a five-year agreement aimed at transforming the way we interact with computers.  

Under the agreement, Soul Machines will migrate its applications to Microsoft Azure and the two companies will collaborate on new products that take the use of AI in entirely new directions. From a digital workforce that delivers the future of customer experience, digital twins of celebrities that enable more fans around the world to engage with their heroes, accessible healthcare assistants and a fully immersive virtual metaverse where children can interact with their favorite toys and book characters, the possibilities are endless.  

Greg Cross, co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Soul Machines, said the business was looking for more than a vendor of AI and cloud services, wanting a tech partner who could help accelerate its growth in markets such as the US as well as support ongoing research and development.  

“Soul Machines has already established a reputation for its lifelike CGI characters and autonomous animation platform which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and neuroscientific principles to reflect human behaviors and emotions in conversation with real people. Digital cookie coach and brand ambassador Ruth is one example, providing an interactive baking experience to customers of Nestle’s baking brand Toll House. The World Health Organization employs Florence, a multilingual healthcare assistant who gives advice on Covid and how to quit smoking.  

“In Microsoft, we saw an organization who shared our principles with regards to responsible AI, a leader in cognitive services, machine learning, and in relationship-building. This isn’t just an agreement to use Microsoft services – it will be a partnership in every sense of the word. This represents the next phase in Soul Machines’ evolution as a company, which will help us take our AI and innovation to the world at a whole new level,” he said.      

Ali Dalloul, Microsoft’s global General Manager Strategy and Commercialization, Azure and AI Platform, said the partnership illustrates the power of AI in pushing the boundaries of technology and democratizing access. 

“For us, this is about innovating with AI to support humanity. As the world increasingly uses digital technologies like AI to address major global challenges or provide better services and more equitable access, collaboration on what this future looks like is essential. AI should be a force for good. We are delighted Soul Machine chose Azure AI for their products and services. Partnering with Soul Machines is a tremendously important opportunity to learn from each other and co-innovate new solutions that make life easier and better for people around the world, as we share a common vision,” he said. 

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