A glimpse into the future of AI enterprise applications


Microsoft's 2019 data and AI tech immersion workshop demonstrated the vendor's strategy to democratize AI by providing a small group of about 30 journalists, industry analysts and other tech industry experts with hands-on experience in programming AI bots using the cognitive services in the Microsoft Azure public cloud platform. It provided meaningful glimpses of the future of AI in enterprise applications, from prebuilt AI models in Azure and machine teaching efforts of today to a future quantum coprocessor that will one day function as Azure's sidekick in a hybrid computing model. The immersion approach of the workshop, which I attended, mimics the real-world experience of AI users who aren't data scientists. Most attendees did not own or have access to the massive data sets needed to complete the exercises on a variety of real-life AI use cases. The software giant overcame that obstacle by providing an open remote desktop connection app on our individual workstations, giving us access to the immersion environment and preloaded data sets in Azure.