Microsoft is bringing three of its 25 Cognitive Services to general availability. Earlier today, the company introduced the public preview of Custom Speech Service with the Content Moderator and Bing Speech API joining it next month.
Custom Speech Service, formerly known as CRIS, enables developers to use the company's speech-to-text engine. The Content Moderator "allows users to quarantine and review data" filtering out offensive content that the users might not be comfortable with, while Bing Speech API "converts audio into text, understands the intent and converts text back to speech".
By making these services generally available for developers across various tiers (including a free tier), the company is making sure that the programmers who want to use its Cognitive Services can do so with their respective APIs. Mike Seltzer, a principal researcher in the Speech and Dialog Research Group at the company added:
“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. In most cases, it takes a ton of time, a ton of data, a ton of expertise, and a ton of compute to build a state-of-the-art machine-learned model.”
This move ties into Microsoft's objective of "democratizing AI" and hence enhances its "Conversation as a platform" concept, which was announced with the Bot framework at Build 2016. The company, in order to achieve its goals, had announced a separate AI and Research Group in September last year and has since acquired several AI-based startups including the Montreal-based Maluuba last month. It has also made huge strides in areas like speech recognition achieving human parity in conversational speech recognition.
Having being used by more than 424,000 developers in 60 countries, the services are held in high regard as Human Interact, the makers of Starship Commander, explain in the video below. Head here to learn more about the service.