Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella believes Artificial Intelligence represents the "ultimate breakthrough" in technology and could drive the "third run time" of computing. He made the comments during a speech in India yesterday, part of a three-day tour of the country.

AI agents to aid you

Microsoft already uses artificial intelligence in many of its most important products. Cortana, its digital assistant that powers everything from Windows 10 to Azure cloud analytics systems, has expanded rapidly in the past few years.

According to Nadella, Cortana will evolve further in the coming months.

Microsoft wants to create a voice "agent" that becomes personally acquainted with you and your needs. The company aims to develop artificial intelligence that aids you in your life, simplifying common tasks and providing insights into complex scenarios.

"Really natural" AI

For Microsoft, the key in is giving machines a robust understanding of human language. Talking freely with computers could be the next revolution in input devices, enabling new kinds of experience that aren't possible with a keyboard and mouse. This requires assistants like Cortana to reliably interpret the nuances of everyday conversation, something Nadella said Microsoft is actively working on.

"In some sense, the agent knows you, your work context and knows the work.

That's how we are building Cortana. We are giving it a really natural language understanding," Nadella said during the event in India. "For all the advances in computer interface, there is nothing to beat language," he added.

Still in the future

With artificial intelligence shaping up to be the defining point of future life, many companies in the field are already touting the potential societal impacts of the technology.

Nadella warned against early speculation though, reflecting that a lot more work is required before AI will go truly mainstream. He suggested AI shouldn't be "over-hyped" as this could be detrimental to its long-term reception.

Instead, Microsoft plans to introduce consumers to the concept gradually. Most of the company's flagship products and services have gained some form of AI integration in the past couple of years, allowing users to become acquainted with proactive assistance in environments they're already familiar with.

The presence of Cortana on the taskbar in Windows 10, automated bots in Skype and intelligent scheduling features in Outlook indicates Microsoft's commitment to launching AI wherever it can improve users' everyday computing. The AI revolution is taking hold quietly as consumers embrace new technologies in old products without necessarily noticing.