Conversations on AI

AI for everyone – Microsoft’s push gains momentum

The machine-learned smarts that enable Microsoft’s Skype Translator, Bing and Cortana to accomplish tasks such as translating conversations, compiling knowledge and understanding the intent of spoken words are increasingly finding their way into third-party applications that people use every day.

These advances in the democratization of artificial intelligence are coming in part from Microsoft Cognitive Services, a collection of 25 tools that allow developers to add features such as emotion and sentiment detection, vision and speech recognition, and language understanding to their applications with zero expertise in machine learning.

“Cognitive Services is about taking all of the machine learning and AI smarts that we have in this company and exposing them to developers through easy-to-use APIs, so that they don’t have to invent the technology themselves,” said Mike Seltzer, a principal researcher in the Speech and Dialog Research Group at Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond, Washington.

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AI’s transformative potential and what’s next …

image001-5Artificial intelligence holds the key to a new era of innovation, one where computers begin to work intelligently on our behalf rather than under our command. It’s an era where technology will become more intuitive, more conversational, more intelligent, will enable businesses to better know and serve their customers in ways previously unimaginable, and ultimately help solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Microsoft is helping to lead a growing global conversation around AI’s transformative potential. Last week, Harry Shum, executive vice president, Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research Group, spoke at Future Forum in Beijing, China. This week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared how Microsoft is democratizing AI for everyone at DLD in Munich, Germany, and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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Microsoft acquires deep learning startup Maluuba; AI pioneer Yoshua Bengio to have advisory role

Today is an exciting day for the advancement of AI at Microsoft. The company has agreed to acquire Maluuba, a Montreal-based company with one of the world’s most impressive deep learning research labs for natural language understanding. Maluuba’s expertise in deep learning and reinforcement learning for question-answering and decision-making systems will help us advance our strategy to democratize AI and to make it accessible and valuable to everyone — consumers, businesses and developers.

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Microsoft’s AI vision, rooted in research

democratizingai_closeMicrosoft has been investing in the promise of artificial intelligence for more than 25 years — and this vision is coming to life with new chatbot Zo, Cortana Devices SDK and Skills Kit, and expansion of intelligence tools.

“Across several industry benchmarks, our computer vision algorithms have surpassed others in the industry — even humans,” said Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Research group, at a small gathering on AI in San Francisco in December. “But what’s more exciting to me is that our vision progress is showing up in our products like HoloLens and with customers like Uber building apps to use these capabilities.”

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