Conversation AI: What’s New?
Chris Mullins, Darren Jefford

As a bot developer, I waited a lot from this session and wasn’t let down! So much new cool features in this BotBuilder SDK v4.

Unfortunately it also renders a lot of the BotBuilder SDK v3 obsolete. A lot of problems that I’ve tackled down with difficulties are now handled by a simple turn key feature.

New features of the BotBuilder SDK v4:

  • Turnkey authentication: Just like WebApp, we now can configure authentication into the Azure portail for our bot, so that it can request the user to connect at the right time.
  • New languages supported: Java and Python
  • New command line tools: « msbot » (manage configuration file of the bot), « luis » (manage Luis), « qnamaker » (manage QnA Maker), « az bot » (command to create/manage bot resources on Azure – useful for automated deployment)
  • LuDown and LuDown CLI – a Markdown variant to give a training sets of data to Luis. « ludown.exe parse toluis » parse the Markdown file and configure Luis with the parsed file.
  • BotBuilder now runs on ASP.NET Core!
  • Middleware (ex. Machine Translation Middleware that translates whatever language the user use to english for the bot to handle, then the bot speaks english but it’s translated to the user’s language through the middleware)
  • Visual Studio has a new Bot Template for the BotBuilder v4

The Bot Framework Emulator has been redone entirely. It nows supports plugins and transcript files. Thanks to the Luis and QnA plugins, we can train our AIs directly from the Bot Framework Emulator based on what we tell our bot. also packs a bunch of new features:

  • Integrated experiences: Luis new gives others’ API data in a single call (Sentiment analysis, Automatic Machine Translation)
  • Luis has been enhanced for better privacy (GDPR and such)
  • New ways to recognize keywords: Patterns (I want to fly from [city:origin] to [city:destination]) / Regex / Key phrases
  • Luis gives guidance to enhance its training (ex. « There’s not enough utterances for this intent – Bad training », « This utterance is duplicated/too close to another one from another intent »

QnAMaker new features:

  • General Availability since monday
  • Hosted by our Azure Subscription
  • No more throttling of questions
  • GDPR and other privacy laws compliant
  • Better portal. Same Test/Inspect tools as Luis

New Dispatcher tool that connect to LUIS and QnAMaker to check if everything’s alright.

New Project Conversation Learner AI from Microsoft Research, an AI that can predict what to say based on the ongoing conversation with a very simple and user-friendly configuration portal.

New PersonalityChat feature that allows to adapt the way our bot talks to the user based on a setting (Business, Friendly, Humorous).
Ex. User: « Hello », Bot: « Hello, how are you today? »
Ex. User: « Yo », Bot: « ‘Sup »