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Microsoft’s Xiaoice chatbot is now designing textile patterns

Software giant claims the design knowhow of its popular AI chatbot is a breakthrough in the field of image-based creation

Microsoft has expanded the artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities of its Xiaoice chatbot, which is now designing images and patterns for China’s textile industry.

Going beyond its initial roles as a voice assistant, radio host, singer and a friend to 660 million users, Xiaoice has already designed new prints based on data on colour trends from the China Textile Information Centre and China Textiles Development Centre (CTDC).

The designs have since been adopted by textile manufacturers and turned into ready-to-wear pieces and printed fabrics. Xiaoice has also composed poems to accompany the designs, underscoring the breadth of content creation capabilities enabled by AI.

“Artistic prints and patterns are very important elements for fashion trends,” said CTDC president Li Binhong. “It is definitely exciting to know that Xiaoice can develop immaculate designs for production of fabrics or ready-to-wear collections. These designs are extremely popular among younger generations, who can hardly imagine their lives without Xiaoice.

“In an industry where trends can rapidly evolve on a day-to-day basis, AI will help us to stay ahead of competition and deliver highly creative collections in record time.”

Microsoft said Xiaoice’s new designing capability is a breakthrough in the field of image-based creation. Its textile artwork was developed through inspirations and simulations – just like a human does. Today, it is able to mine context, tonality and emotions from text to create unique patterns within seconds.

And through consistent and intensive learning, Xiaoice has acquired understanding of shapes, colours and textures of common objects in the physical world. By determining the spatial relationship between different objects, it has been able to produce abstract spatial drawings and outlines.

Read more about AI in APAC

  • Malaysia’s RHB Bank launches chatbot to help consumers apply for personal loans, making it the latest bank in Southeast Asia to make use of chatbots to improve customer service.
  • New Zealand’s Auckland Airport is testing an AI-powered avatar at the arrivals area to answer biosecurity questions from travellers.
  • Despite the touted merits of human-machine collaboration, business leaders in APAC are divided on the impact of AI-powered machines on the future of work.
  • Forward-looking organisations in ASEAN are embracing AI, but uneven access to connectivity and a lack of skills and understanding of the technology are holding back wider adoption.
  • Alibaba has set up a joint research facility at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University to develop artificial intelligence-based technologies in retail, transportation and healthcare.

Since its debut in 2014, Xiaoice has appeared on radio and TV shows, published a collection of poems, released dozens of songs and generated financial reports.

Microsoft’s other AI breakthrough came in March 2018 when its team of US and Chinese researchers successfully developed a system that can translate Chinese language news articles into English with human accuracy.

The researchers said they were able to achieve human parity on a test set of news stories released by an industry and research group at a machine translation conference.

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

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