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Microsoft Windows

Cortana Now Reminds You To Do the Things You Promised in Emails ( 134

From a report: Microsoft is adding a new feature to Cortana today that will remind you to keep your promises. Suggested reminders lets Cortana remind you when you've promised to do something in an email. Microsoft is using machine learning to highlight phrases in emails where you might promise your boss something, or make a commitment to a friend or family member. The result is a reminder that pops up telling you "don't forget you mentioned this." Cortana's suggested reminders will be available in the US first on Windows 10 PCs, and Microsoft is planning to bring them to iOS and Android in the coming weeks. Microsoft is supporting and Office 365 accounts for these reminders, and other accounts like Gmail will be supported soon. You'll need to connect an or Office 365 account to Cortana to enable the feature, and you'll start receiving reminders once the service detects your promises and commitments.
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Cortana Now Reminds You To Do the Things You Promised in Emails

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  • Remind me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Allicorn ( 175921 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @02:42PM (#53834077) Homepage

    Remind me to disable Cortana

    • Re:Remind me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @02:47PM (#53834119)

      It seems like personal assistants are nothing more than intrusive nag machines that want access to every aspect of my life.

      It's bad enough that I have an ongoing battle to get relevant notifications on my device from normal apps.

      The last thing I need is another app nagging me to do stuff. If I promised to do something, I will do it. Which, by the way, is why I rarely promise to do anything...

      • Re:Remind me (Score:5, Insightful)

        by OhSoLaMeow ( 2536022 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @02:56PM (#53834181)

        It seems like personal assistants are nothing more than intrusive nag machines that want access to every aspect of my life.

        You mean like a wife or girlfriend?

      • Never had a real personal assistant then :)

        I've tried out Cortana a few times on the crappy Win10 tablet I got free with my Dell notebook. It mainly just sends me to Bing, so I've largely deemed it useless. I suppose I could use it for scheduling, but I find speaking commands to software to be slower and more error prone than even tapping it out on a touch keyboard that I largely ignore Cortana.

      • It seems like personal assistants are nothing more than intrusive nag machines that want access to every aspect of my life.

        You can say that again. They started life being pretty much useless. They are now becoming worse than useless.

      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        We already suffer from enough stress in our work. If you don't have time to do what you promised then you will get stressed even more when you get the computer nagging you about it.

      • I may well be alone in this, but I think this actually sounds like a good idea. I really could do with a personal assistant that knows every detail of every email I've ever written or received and can tell me to do stuff in emails that are 'below the fold' that I've forgotten about.

        What I don't want is all that happening on someone else's server. If it could all happen on my computer without need to send every last detail to 'the cloud' then I'd genuinely be interested. Until then, I'll keep using my (Siri-

    • Re:Remind me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @02:48PM (#53834131)

      I'm afraid I can't do that Dave..

    • Remind me to disable Cortana

      I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I cant do that.

    • No kidding. I was just thinking of when people get told "I'll do it later" just to get them out of your face. ;-)

    • Microsoft LIED. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2017 @03:24PM (#53834313)

      Microsoft kept telling everyone that only Google reads your email [], and they don't. Now they're admitting that Cortana will read your email without your permission!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's different! Google parses your e-mail in order to profile you for advertising. Cortana parses your e-mail in order to remind you that you're a lying procrastinator that has no intention of following through on anything. :P

      • Now they're admitting that Cortana will read your email without your permission!

        From TFS:

        You'll need to connect an or Office 365 account to Cortana to enable the feature, ...

        Maybe Cortana can remind you to learn how to read.

    • Disable Cortana.

    • They make it difficult to remove. You can't just click a button or turn off a service if you want it really to be gone (like i do.) I ended up having to change ownership of the directory and then moved it so it can't load. It made a huge performance improvement on my son's (relatively old I7) laptop.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Open Task Manager, click the Details tab, find the Cortana executable, right click, click Open Location. In the File Explorer window that opens, note the subdirectory Cortana is contained in. Right click on the subdirectory, click Properties, click Security. Edit the Permissions, mark Deny for SYSTEM for the entire folder. Go back to Task Manager, right click Cortana again, click End Task. Windows will attempt at intervals to re-start Cortana and will fail because it no longer is authorized to run it. Congr
  • Nag-A-Tron 5000 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2017 @02:44PM (#53834089)

    Mmm yummy a program that reads my mail and will chase me down for shit

    Where do I sign up for this abuse? (oh yeah I installed Windows 10 abuse is complimentary)

  • Wont last (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eneville ( 745111 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @02:44PM (#53834095) Homepage

    Important things wont get done if you get reminded all the time to go back and fix all the perfect world problems that you promised yourself you'd do. Unfortunately life gets in the way and the important things quickly take priority. Being reminded to go and correct the whitespace in a random header file isn't going to help anyone.

  • Isn't this how Microsoft tried to bash Google, because they matched keywords in emails to ads?

    • You've been Microscraped? Microscrewed? Microscorned?

      Yeah... not quite as catchy as Scroogled.

      • Its the new micro-nagging economy. Every time you press the "fuck you" button to shut her up, you pay Microsoft 1 cent.

    • Corporations are like political factions. It's always OK when we do it, it's those other guys doing it that's bad!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        President Trump, this is just a reminder that you promised to "LOCK HER UP!"

  • Cortana will accomplish the mission despite you endangering it.

  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @02:51PM (#53834153)
    I get the impression it's done server-side and pushed to the client. I also find this just a little terrifying.

    Then again, if Google can do exactly the same thing to improve the accuracy of targeted advertising I suppose this is relatively innocuous. Still, can I meaningfully out out of should I just make sure GPG/PGP is installed and working correctly? After all, the OS itself does a couple dozen phone-homes, why should web services be any different?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can't wait until Cortana reminds someone to carry out their death threat...

    • by Destoo ( 530123 )

      And then it broadcasts the reminders on all of your devices.
      Fun times.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Hey! I see your drafts folder contains an unfinished death threat to your boss! Proximity sensor indicates your boss just walked in! Why not have that conversation in person instead!

  • by Torodung ( 31985 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @03:00PM (#53834209) Journal

    It is still possible to disable Cortana in any version of Windows 10.

    Go to [] and scroll down to Does that mean that you cannot turn of Cortana anymore? and you will find instructions to activate the GP template or enter the registry key directly into regedit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search




    • > "Please note that the Group Policy Editor is only available in professional versions of Windows 10. Most notably, it is not available in Windows 10 Home."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I suppose Microsoft thought they were smart calling it "Cortana" rather than "Big Brother", but it definitely seems headed the same way. What's next, will she start "fixing" your outgoing emails and snooping on the incoming ones according to what the party line is for the moment, and fire of a message to HR or some three letter agency if anything suspicious turns up?

  • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @03:15PM (#53834267) Homepage

    I love how "Machine Learning" is basically the new hit buzzword (phrase) of 2017. Everything is now "WITH MACHINE LEARNING!" - which is really usually just a static algorithm that searches for generic key words. If you use Facebook, you've probably already seen this in where they highlight words representing time or dates and if you click on them it'll generate a calendar item for you. Microsoft is literally just doing the same, only without the asking part now, but labeling it "Machine Learning" and calling it "OMGZ INNOVATION!"

    • Corn Flakes! Now with 20% more boring MACHINE LEARNING (and NO toy) in every box!


      As much as I hate buzzwords I can't help but notice everything seems to automatically get better as I use it. Recommended news is more relevant to my interests, handwriting recognition in Windows is getting better (and by all accounts my handwriting is going the opposite direction), and what started off as basic times and dates is being picked up every more generically with words like soon, tomorrow, before the end of the week, etc.

      If this buzzword is driving this than tac it on where you want.

    • you've probably already seen this in where they highlight words representing time or dates and if you click on them

      If you go to the English Language edition of People's Daily (nice easy to type in URL, [] ) a floating box at the bottom left sits there and the webpage brings up floating dialogues with Chinese translations of the word you hover over. The translation service, BTW, says it's from Bing.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    seriously people, how are we still putting up with this shit ?!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Needs to read, "Cortana now reads all of your emails".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If this is purely local and I can turn it off, that's fine.

    If it's cloud-based, it better be encrypted in a way that only I can decrypt it.

    If I can't turn it off, well, read Nineteen Eighty-Four.

  • Seriously, how do I shut down this nanny state product?

    • Reformat your hard drive and install Linux. It's the only way to be sure unless you're able to nuke Redmond from orbit.
  • If only cortana could remind itself to never show up again...

  • Anyone remember this from 4 years ago? []

    I'd say this was fair game for Google :)

    • by tomxor ( 2379126 )
      OMG who the fuck voted this troll... this is literally a fact posted about a previous story and a note on the relevance and irony. I swear Microsoft's minions must be here to manipulate posts.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @06:22PM (#53835377)

    1. "Can it be disabled?"
    2. "How much longer are we going to be able to disable it?"
    3. "What will break in the process of this being disabled that I actually DO want from the system?"

    These are honestly the 3 questions I have been asking EVERY SINGLE TIME Microsoft announced any new "feature" for an OS in the past 3 years. There was not a single instance of "hey, I've been waiting for that!" or "Now that's a good idea".


    • It will be possible to disable it. But each time Windows Update is run, it is possible it will be re-enabled.

      It is not possible to disable Windows Update.

  • And then tells Microsoft when you've done it.

  • Let me guess. The AI that performs the processing to create the reminders regarding promises you made in your emails is very powerful and smart. So smart that all your emails are transferred off and processed on a Powerful Cloud Computer that Microsoft is generous to provide gratis, free of charge!

  • Am I the only one that get scared with that stuff ? I must be getting too old. I used to think that S. Hawking was an alarmist when he said that AI might end mankind... Not so much anymore.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly