Microsoft has always adapted and adopted emerging technologies to enhance its own emerging ones. Artificial Intelligence has made strides recently and Microsoft’s take on AI is worth understanding. Though Microsoft has been using AI significantly for Bing and Office in the past, it has been doing it passively.
Microsoft, like its competitors, would not want to be left behind has started using it to understand the huge volumes of data it mines every day. Microsoft is using AI to make the MS-Office Suite intuitive to a novice user. The Quick Starter tool in PowerPoint uses the previously used templates and options and use Bing data to set up the default options. In fact, it uses AI to get rid of the Blank Page Syndrome which affects many first-timers while working on presentations. PowerPoint even comes up with automated Alt-texts for the images using cognitive vision analysis. Another important tool is the Focused Inbox in Outlook which uses AI to build a controllable yet easy-to-manage mailing interface. There are options in MS-Word that also uses AI significantly, though the users rarely realize it. Automated spell-check and grammar, word suggestions etc. are simple examples of AI in use.
Cortana seems to be the only showcase of Microsoft’s take on AI till date. Though the developers have been benefitting greatly from Microsoft’s AI integrated Cognitive Services which provided them 25 amazing tools that helped the developers create applications that used speech, emotion and vision recognition and added language understanding, Cortana remained the only AI tool from Microsoft that was available to the end-user. Microsoft has recently come up with three amazing tools that use AI extensively. Microsoft’s all new Custom Speech Service and Content Moderator are a boon to the developers and the Bing Speech API to the end-users.
Custom Speech Service from Microsoft can be used to create applications that can recognize the speech and separate it from the noisy background efficiently. It even claims to capture the jargons, accents and dialects efficiently. The Content Moderator is used to filter offensive content including images and text so that only clean content will be presented to the user. The Bing Speech API lets you talk and type on the go! It can recognize what you are talking and types it out as text or converts the text into an audio keeping the purpose intact.
These three amazing tools can make the developers’ life much easier and also lets them make the most of the information available. Microsoft’s Cognitive Services are bound to make machine learning simpler and also to utilize the vast volumes of information available to better the user experience.
Microsoft’s research team on AI formed in 2016 is a promising venture which has come up with these tools. The team has 5000+ researchers working on Microsoft’s initiative to democratize AI in terms of Agents, Applications, Services and Infrastructure. We can expect more path-breaking innovations and technologies from this team in the coming times.