Microsoft is surging forward with its commitment to artificial intelligence (AI), formally announcing its latest chatbot, Zo.

Zo is built on the back of the same technology that powers Microsoft’s other chatbots, Xiaoice in China and Rinna in Japan.

Unlike Cortana, Zo is a social chatbot, which combs through the social content of the internet and learns from human interactions. That means that when you ask her a question or make a statement, she can respond in a way that actually takes emotions into account, rather than giving you a stiff answer of only facts.

Following the disastrous March launch of chatbot Tay which was quickly shutdown after the bot ‘learned’ hateful and outrageous language from people who tweeted the bot on Twitter, Microsoft has taken extra precaution with Zo.

To ensure Zo doesn’t follow the same fate as Tay, Microsoft has restricted what the bot can discuss, where topics such as politics are off limits.

Currently Zo is only available to Kik users, however Microsoft has announced plans to bring the chatbot to Skype and Facebook Messenger in the future. To make sure you’re one of the first to chat with Zo on Messenger, go to to request an invite.

Hayden McMaster