Microsoft’s new team of 7,500 computer scientists to take the next step in AI advances

Kareem Anderson

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Smartphones are all the rave today, but an increasing chatter is beginning to surface as to how we fully utilize not only our most personal computing device but how its access to information should interact with the rest of our world.

Companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft are all looking into finding solutions that make information flow between smartphones and a host of other devices as seamless as possible with the use of artificial intelligence.

Enter Microsoft’s recent focus on the advance of its AI efforts that have brought users tools such as Microsoft Translator, Azure Machine Learning, and Bing.

Now, Microsoft is looking to a new incubation effort called Microsoft Research AI which was created to solve some of the nuances of integrating artificial intelligence into practical applications.

During the celebration of Microsoft’s Cambridge U.K. research lab’s 20th anniversary, the company took some time to introduce Microsoft Research AI as it also explained the core goals of the project.

Another core goal of Microsoft Research AI is to reunite AI research endeavors such as machine learning, perception and natural language processing that have evolved over time into separate fields of research. This integrated approach will allow us to develop sophisticated understandings and tools that can help people do complex, multifaceted tasks. For example, using this approach we can create methods and systems that understand language and take action based on that understanding.

Another of Microsoft’s AI efforts is to address and advance the more insipid use cases of AI that are being used today such as algorithms designed to manipulate users into spending money, illicit personal information, judge the value of human life when navigating roads and much more.

According to a report from Business Insider, today’s announcement differs from Microsoft’s long-standing participation in AI development by organizing experts in a far more strategic effort.

Microsoft Research Labs director Eric Horvitz mentioned to BI that the new AI labs are a “key strategic effort; a move that is “absolutely critical” as artificial intelligence becomes increasingly important to the future of technology.” As it stands now, Microsoft’s new Research AI teams make up a rounding error for the company’s staff, but we should expect to see those numbers increase as the company looks to compete with the likes of Amazon, Google, and Facebook in the coming years.

Overall, it’s up to not only Microsoft but every company looking to harness artificial intelligence to think long and hard of the ramifications of their applications, and that seems to be what Microsoft’s Research AI Labs was created to accomplish.