Microsoft partners with SLASSCOM at inaugural AI Asia Summit 2018

A segment of the audience at SLASSCOM AI Asia Summit 2018

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Microsoft has partnered with the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) to help lead a growing conversation around AI’s transformative potential in Sri Lanka.

At Sri Lanka’s first flagship conference dedicated to the topic of AI—SLASSCOM AI Asia Summit 2018, Microsoft’s Senior Solution Architect for Data and AI, Christoper Gunawan, addressed over 320 local business decision makers, IT decision makers, developers and startups. He unveiled Microsoft’s latest developments in AI across application, research and adoption alongside critically acclaimed international and local speakers.

In his keynote address to last week’s gathering, Christoper explained how organizations of varying sizes and industries are leveraging the power of AI, and the cloud, to accelerate performance. “This new era of AI is driven by the combination of almost limitless computing power in the cloud, the digitization of our world, and breakthroughs in how computers can use this information to learn and reason much like people do. Microsoft is offering an open and flexible platform with powerful tools and services for developers to enable business innovation with digital agents, intelligent apps and business processes. By partnering with SLASSCOM at their inaugural AI summit, we believe we can actively drive Sri Lanka’s AI transformation.”

Christoper Gunawan, Microsoft Sr. Solution Architect for Data and AI
Christoper Gunawan, Microsoft Sr. Solution Architect for Data and AI, delivering his keynote on applications of AI.

From virtual personal assistants and smart cars to fraud detection and online customer support, Christoper showcased proven case cases on how AI were transforming businesses. He also explained how Uber was using Microsoft Cognitive Services to allow its drivers to verify passenger identity before they are able to accept rides.

“At Microsoft, we believe AI holds the key to a new era of innovation, one where computers begin to work intelligently on our behalf. It’s an era where technology will become more intuitive, more conversational, more intelligent, enabling local businesses to better know and serve their customers in ways previously unimaginable,” he added.

The decision to host Sri Lanka’s first conference and workshop dedicated to the topics of AI followed discussions with the local community and SLASSCOM. The event highlighted the IT industry’s potential to become a US$ 5 billion industry by 2022—creating 200,000 direct job opportunities, and enabling the launch of up to 1,000 startups.

“Sri Lanka needs to diversify its export-based services in order to climb up the global value chain,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “We’re excited about the opportunities that AI bring to people and its ability to help us achieve more. But it’s important to us that we build upon an ethical foundation. We believe everyone should have access to the benefits of AI, including the tools needed to create and transform work. We want to remove the barriers that are preventing people from creating the next generation of AI-powered products.”

Microsoft’s deep investments in the field are advancing the state of the art in machine intelligence and perception, enabling computers that understand what they see, communicate in natural language, answer complex questions and interact with their environment. The company is amplifying human ingenuity with the power of AI in the era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.

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