For the last year or so, Microsoft has backed artificial intelligence as "the most important technology on the planet" and has released various products that make use of AI. The company's flagship AI product, Cortana, is available to all Windows 10 users - although its capabilities vary depending on which part of the world you're in. Now, the company will be bringing its artificial intelligence research under one umbrella with the formation of the Microsoft AI and Research Group that will include 5000 computer scientists.
The AI and Research Group will be headed by Microsoft veteran of 20 years, Harry Shum, who has worked with Microsoft Research and Bing prior to this appointment. The group will bring together various related teams such as Information Platform, Cortana and Bing, and Ambient Computing and Robotics teams.
According to Microsoft's post about the announcement, the company will be taking a four-pronged approach to democratize AI:
- Agents: Harness AI to fundamentally change human and computer interaction through agents such as Microsoft’s digital personal assistant Cortana
- Applications: Infuse every application, from the photo app on people’s phones to Skype and Office 365, with intelligence
- Services: Make these same intelligent capabilities that are infused in Microsoft’s apps —cognitive capabilities such as vision and speech, and machine analytics — available to every application developer in the world
- Infrastructure: Build the world’s most powerful AI supercomputer with Azure and make it available to anyone, to enable people and organizations to harness its power
Currently, there are no announcements regarding any upcoming products, but with the newly formed group we can surely expect to hear more about AI and related products from the software giant in the not-too-distant future.