Microsoft has formed a new division to work on artificial intelligence, known as the Microsoft AI and Research Group, which will bring together more than 5000 computer scientists and engineers who are working to improve the company’s AI products.
The new division will be headed by Harry Shum, a computer vision expert and a 20 year Microsoft veteran. Previous to this appointment, Shum worked as the lead in Microsoft’s Research and Bing engineering.
The tech-giant says that it is committed towards developing artificial intelligence and making it accessible for every person and organisation and to help solve some tough problems in the society.
Microsoft plans to develop Artificial Intelligence and deploy it across apps, services agents and infrastructure to deliver new capabilities to its customers.
Apart from Shum’s team, several other teams in Microsoft including Information Platform, Cortana and Bing, Ambient Computing and Robotics team will be joining the new division.
The AI division will also include AI product engineering, basic and applied research labs and New Experience and Technologies (NExT).
The company says that it will take a four-pronged approach to deploy AI. Microsoft’s digital personal assistant Cortana will harness AI to change or improve how humans and computers interact.
AI will infuse applications from photo app on people’s phones to Skype and Office 365 with intelligence.
For services, the company aims to make intelligent capabilities like vision and speech available for developers all over the world.
In terms of infrastructure, the company wants to build a powerful AI supercomputer powered by Azure and it available to all.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: “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.
“At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering both people and organizations, by democratising 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.”
Microsoft AI and Research Group executive vice president Shum said: “Microsoft has been working in artificial intelligence since the beginning of Microsoft Research, and yet we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible.
“Today’s move signifies Microsoft’s commitment to deploying intelligent technology and democratising AI in a way that changes our lives and the world around us for the better.
“We will significantly expand our efforts to empower people and organizations to achieve more with our tools, our software and services, and our powerful, global-scale cloud computing capabilities.”