Eric Horvitz Microsoft Research

Artificial intelligence is fast becoming the next major battlefield between Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, and Microsoft is putting its troops in formation.

On Wednesday morning, Microsoft plans to announce the creation of Microsoft Research AI, a dedicated unit within its global Microsoft Research division that will focus exclusively on how to make the company’s software smarter, now and in the future.

Make no mistake, Microsoft has long employed a veritable army of AI experts, who have contributed their expertise to products and services including Microsoft Translator, the Microsoft Cortana digital assistant, and even the infamous rogue Tay chatbot.

The difference now, Microsoft Research Labs director Eric Horvitz tells Business Insider, is that this new organization will bring roughly 100 of those experts under one figurative roof. By bringing them together, Horvitz says, Microsoft’s AI team can do more, faster, he says.

Horvitz describes the formation of Microsoft Research AI as a “key strategic effort;’ a move that is “absolutely critical” as artificial intelligence becomes increasingly important to the future of technology. All in all, Microsoft Research AI will encompass about 1/10th of the staff of the overall Microsoft Research group.

Plus, Microsoft is taking steps to make sure that artificial intelligence is being used responsibly, thanks to a new overseeing ethics board called Aether made up of top Microsoft execs from across the company. And a new “design guide” will provide Microsoft teams with insight into how to responsibly develop and deploy AI.

Bill Gates’ dream, coming true

Horvitz says that the formation of this group speaks to Bill Gates’ original vision for Microsoft Research when it was founded back in 1991. Microsoft’s famous mission at the time was “a personal computer on every desk and in every home” — but Gates wanted to go a step further, so those …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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