Microsoft's new AI group seeks greater accessibility

Dive Brief:

  • In a company blog post Microsoft announced a new AI group that includes Microsoft Research, its Information Platform Group, Bing and Cortana product groups, and its Ambient Computing and Robotics teams. The entire group will involve more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers.
  • A primary goal is to democratize artificial intelligence and “make it accessible and valuable to everyone” by building an AI stack that includes Microsoft infrastructure, services, apps and agents.
  • In another sign of AI's growing importance for marketing, Adweek separately reported the creation of the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society including Microsoft along with Google, Facebook, Amazon and IBM.

Dive Insight:

The two pieces of news underscore how the stage of AI will be driven by collaboration as the lines blur between research and product. To date, AI has mostly been driven by one-off solutions coming out of isolated research labs. Going forward, marketers, tech companies and others will be looking for ways to integrate AI throughout user experiences across platforms. 

The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society was put together by some of the biggest names in tech in order promote public understanding of AI while creating standards and best practices for all AI developers to adhere to.

Adweek reported that a study by Time Etc found the public isn’t quite ready for full AI with 26% of respondents reporting not trusting a robot or other AI-based machines with personal or professional tasks. Another 54% reported not believing they used AI even though the technology is a key component of digital assistants like Siri, and the overall Google experience where AI is part of improving Google Maps among many other of its products people use every day.

From a Partnership release: "The objective of the partnership on AI is to address opportunities and challenges with AI technologies to benefit people and society. Together, the organization's members will conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license in areas such as ethics, fairness and inclusivity; transparency, privacy, and interoperability; collaboration between people and AI systems; and the trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of the technology. It does not intend to lobby government or other policymaking bodies."

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