Microsoft reinforces AI vision at London event
Microsoft’s vision for AI (artificial intelligence) is about people. It’s about amplifying human ingenuity through intelligent technology that will reason with, understand and interact with people and, together with people, help us solve some of society’s most fundamental challenges. This was the message shared earlier today at an event in London by Harry Shum, Executive Vice-President of Microsoft’s AI and Research Group.
Announcing AI for Earth: Microsoft’s new program to put AI to work for the future of our planet
Today at an AI event in London, we announced a new program called AI for Earth, aimed at putting the power of artificial intelligence towards solving some of the biggest environmental challenges of our time. As a technology company with a deep commitment to sustainability, we understand that our responsibility extends beyond our own operations to innovating towards a healthier and better future more broadly.
We are excited by the potential of putting artificial intelligence in the hands of researchers and organizations to drive new data insights that will help solve important issues related to water, agriculture, biodiversity and climate change.
Microsoft’s role at the intersection of AI, people and society
When the field of artificial intelligence was founded more than five decades ago, computer scientists could only dream of the type of capabilities that an average consumer might now take for granted.
We are living in a golden age of AI advances. Every day, it seems like computer scientists are making more progress in areas such as computer vision, deep learning, speech and natural language processing — areas of AI research that have challenged the field’s foremost experts for decades.
Those breakthroughs are bringing to life tools including Microsoft Translator that were, only recently, the stuff of fantasy and science fiction. And these tools are, in turn, helping people in so many ways, by breaking down language barriers and facilitating communication.
The intersection of AI with people and society presents us with incredible opportunity and demanding challenges.
AI’s big leap to tiny devices opens world of possibilities
Sometimes the best place to showcase the potential of a bold, world-changing technology is a flower garden. Take the case of Ofer Dekel, for example. He manages the Machine Learning and Optimization group at Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond, Washington. Squirrels often devoured flower bulbs in his garden and seeds from his bird feeder, depriving him and his family of blooms and birdsong.
To solve the problem, he trained a computer-vision model to detect squirrels and deployed the code onto a Raspberry Pi 3, an inexpensive, resource-constrained single-board computer. The device now keeps watch over his backyard and triggers his sprinkler system whenever the vermin pounce. “Every hobbyist who owns a Raspberry Pi should be able to do that,” said Dekel. “Today, very few of them can.”
How Microsoft used AI to help crack down on tech support scams worldwide
The scam works like this: There you are, using your computer just like any other day, when suddenly a pop-up appears, warning you that your computer has been infected by a virus and you need to call tech support immediately.
If you try to get rid of the pop-up, it just keeps coming back. If you do call the alleged tech support number, you’re connected to telemarketers who claim to be affiliated with major technology companies – but are really scammers trying to bilk customers for costly and unnecessary computer repairs or services.
Microsoft Pix provides iPhones stylistic flair
Microsoft has released new features for Microsoft’s AI-powered camera app for iPhones and iPads that automatically give snapshots stylistic flair reminiscent of masterpiece paintings and artsy photos hanging in the famed galleries of Amsterdam, Paris and New York.
The features, which were developed in collaboration with Microsoft’s Asia research lab and Skype, are part of a comprehensive update to Microsoft Pix for iOS, an application that uses a suite of intelligent algorithms developed by Microsoft researchers to take the guesswork out of getting great photos with every tap of the shutter button.
Divide and conquer: How Microsoft researchers used AI to master Ms. Pac-Man
Microsoft researchers have created an artificial intelligence-based system that learned how to get the maximum score on the addictive 1980s video game Ms. Pac-Man, using a divide-and-conquer method that could have broad implications for teaching AI agents to do complex tasks that augment human capabilities.
The team from Maluuba, a Canadian deep learning startup acquired by Microsoft earlier this year, used a branch of AI called reinforcement learning to play the Atari 2600 version of Ms. Pac-Man perfectly. Using that method, the team achieved the maximum score possible of 999,990.
Securing the Cloud
At any point in time on any day of the week, Microsoft’s cloud computing operations are under attack: The company detects a whopping 1.5 million attempts a day to compromise its systems.
Microsoft isn’t just fending off those attacks. It’s also learning from them.