Artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming one of the hottest scenes in the tech world, and Microsoft is all in with a new Microsoft AI and Research Group.
Just one day after forming an AI partnership with heavyweight player such as Google, IBM, Amazon and Facebook, Microsoft leveled up with even more ambitious endeavors of its own.
The company just announced a new AI business unit called the Microsoft AI and Research Group, appointing veteran Microsoft Research EVP Harry Shum at the helm.
"We live in a time when digital technology is transforming our lives, businesses and the world, but also generating an exponential growth in data and information," says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering both people and organizations, by democratizing access to intelligence to help solve our most pressing challenges. To do this, we are infusing AI into everything we deliver across our computing platforms and experiences."
At the helm of this new AI group, Shum will be overseeing 5,000 computer scientists, engineers and other professionals working on all aspects of artificial intelligence.
Shum points out that although Microsoft has been present on the AI scene since the early days of Microsoft Research, it's only started scratching the surface of what AI can really do.
With its new Microsoft AI and Research Group, the company reiterates its commitment to deploy smart technology and make use of AI to improve people's lives.
Microsoft wants to up its game and expand its efforts so that its tools, software, services and computing capabilities enable people and companies to achieve more. As part of this effort, Microsoft Research will merge with the new AI group, taking things to the next level.
Microsoft already made some headway when it comes to employing AI in mass market apps such as Cortana, but it wants to go deeper. The new AI unit will include far more products such as Cortana and Bing, Information Platform, as well as Ambient Computing and Robotics teams spearheaded by David Ku, Derrick Connell and Vijai Mital, respectively.
According to Microsoft, the new AI and Research Group will cover not only AI product engineering, but also new Experiences and Technologies (NExT) and basic and applied research labs.
Microsoft will focus on four main areas — Agents, Applications, Services and Infrastructure — to increase AI efforts and results.
For those who would like a piece of the action, Microsoft is hiring.
Microsoft is not the only one with ambitious AI dreams, as other big players such as Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook are all heavily invested in artificial intelligence. It remains to be seen what will come of it, but the future of AI definitely looks exciting.