Microsoft is experimenting with the next big technology trends, which is the AI and machine learning. The company is determined to not miss out on AI or artificial intelligence, the next big trend in tech that over time, would filter into how everyone uses software, hardware and the internet. Unlike mobile that the company missed and continues to miss by a mile, Microsoft has been working hard to be on top of artificial intelligence, both in terms of research and integration of it into products.
MICROSOFT’S MUCH SUCCESS IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGNECE RESEARCH
One of the major reasons that Microsoft has had so much success in artificial intelligence research so far is down to Microsoft Research. It’s the 1,000-strong arm of the organization, which specifically deals in scientific research, even if it is not part of the core business of Microsoft. Top scientists at Microsoft Research created a list of predictions and a lot of them focus on AI, which is a big trend today, showing that it is a huge focus for the company. One of the huge focuses for Microsoft Research is AI or artificial intelligence, both practically and scientifically for products. Artificial intelligence would become a big deal.
MACHINE LEARNING TECHIQUES AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
It is a fact that millions of people all over the world suffer from visual impairment. A new program from Microsoft uses machine learning techniques as well as artificial intelligence to help diagnose and treat the condition. Microsoft teamed with the non-profit LV Prasad Eye Institute or LVPEI in India that provided the computing giant with access to over a million anonymized medical records. The records were tossed into the cloud-based machine learning program of Microsoft and processed.
The data provided Microsoft the ability to see through and analyze a wide array of procedures, offering a better understanding as to why a specific operation is chosen and the results of various surgeries for eye patients. Using an Azure machine learning program and Power BI service, Microsoft was able to use data to help doctors make decisions. Furthermore, the company was able to convey to a doctor the amount of time a patient has until the visual further degrades. It also was able to predict how successful a certain procedure could be. Although Microsoft has not said officially just how success the program has been, it seems confident enough in its initiative to take it on the road.
IMPROVING PEOPLE’S HEALTH AROUND THE GLOBE
The success of a program such as Microsoft’s could be integral in boosting the health of people all over the world. According to WHO or the World Health Organization, around 285 million people are visually impaired, which include 38 million who are blind. WHO estimates that eight percent of visual impairments could be treated. Microsoft’s thinking has swayed to AI, including a series of high-profile acquisitions and an entire section of the company that’s called the Garage that’s dedicated to building applications, most of which have artificial intelligence or built-in machine learning. All of the acquisitions add knowledge to the teams of Microsoft and bring products, which bear the name of the company onto devices, particularly those that are made by Apple or that run Android.
Microsoft earlier announced that the company’s acquiring SwiftKey, a London-based startup that has built one of the most popular keyboards for Android and iPhone devices. The technology behind SwiftKey is in a large part driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Most people speculated that the SwiftKey acquisition has to do with bringing Word Flow, the default keyboard on Windows Phone, to the iPhone. Nonetheless, the blog posts, both from Microsoft and SwiftKey announcing the acquisition has made it clear that this was not the case, that Microsoft wanted the team and technology behind the keyboard application.
The acquisition does show several things, such as:
- Microsoft now is able to make high-profile, huge acquisitions again and most of all, engineers at hip firms want to work with the giant company.
- Microsoft is serious on bringing people to cover areas it wants to change or expand. Accompli, an Outlook client for iPhone that was acquired by Microsoft last year is another example of this.
- There would likely be more acquisitions in the future.
Other than SwiftKey, Microsoft also acquired other companies, most of which are more startups, which, among other things have an artificial intelligence component. This include Double Labs that makes an Android home screen, which intelligently orders items and Metanautix, a big-data company.
The one huge takeaway from Microsoft’s experiments with machine learning and artificial intelligence is that it’s keeping up with Google and others.