Speaker: Evelyne Viegas Given the investment and evidence of progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the last five years, some suggest that it is merely a matter of time until AI matches, complements or surpasses, human intelligence. Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft is about augmenting human abilities and experiences and having humans and machine collaborate as teams in a complementary and trustworthy fashion. In this talk I will expose the breadth of AI efforts at Microsoft, the need to build bridges across diverse communities to create new multimodal and interdisciplinary research efforts.
There are more than 7,000 languages in the world, a third of which have fewer than 1,000 people who continue to speak them. In southwestern Mexico, Microsoft is engaged as one of the community partners in efforts to preserve languages spoken in the region, specifically Yucatec Maya and Queretaro Otomi. By using AI, Microsoft has helped to protect endangered languages.
Microsoft Research is more important to the tech titan than ever. Crucial futuristic products like the HoloLens holographic goggles and Skype Translate came straight out of the company's science labs. But research wasn't always this central to Microsoft -- in fact, there used to be a "barrier" between the more academia-like Microsoft Research and the rest of the company, recalls Microsoft researcher emeritus and Silicon Valley icon Gordon Bell. For Microsoft Research, it was considered "not appropriate to be a part of what Microsoft was selling," Bell tells Business Insider. Bell, who helped set up Microsoft Research in the early 1990's, says that the team did great work on the very cutting edge of computer science and interaction design.
Microsoft is renaming its Microsoft Ventures early-stage investment group targeting startups to "M12." The 12 is for the 12 letters it takes to spell "entrepreneur," in case you were wondering.) M12 invests in enterprise startups and has made more than 50 investments in the past two years " in areas ranging from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence/machine learning to industrial drones and 3D printing," according to the April 30 blog post announcing the new name. The name of Microsoft Ventures has been confusing since its inception in 2016. When Microsoft created its Ventures group, it renamed the original "Microsoft Ventures" -- which was run by its Developer Evangelism team -- to "Microsoft Accelerator."