Having missed its opportunity to become a big player in the mobile market, Microsoft has been trying to have a forward-looking approach towards other technology fields over the last few years such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning. And as of today, the Redmond giant managed to achieve some technology breakthroughs such as its speech recognition technology which claimed the lowest-ever error rate in a recent benchmark.
But in 2016, Microsoft, which has become a big open source supporter,is also looking to open up its AI efforts. That’s why the company announced today a new partnership with OpenAI, a nonprofit AI research organization co-founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever.
"At Microsoft, we believe everyone deserves to be able to take advantage of these breakthroughs, in both their work and personal lives," explained the company in today’s blog post, adding that "we are committed to democratizing AI and making it accessible to everyone." In the video below, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research group Harry Shum and OpenAI’s Sam Altman explain why this new partnership will help both organizations as well as other companies deliver more breakthroughs in the AI field.
The partnership also makes some sense as OpenAI already chose Microsoft Azure as their primary cloud platform and is also an early adopter of the company’s Azure N-Series Virtual Machines. "OpenAI chose Microsoft due to our deep learning research and ongoing commitment to AI, along with Azure’s support for open source technologies and its unique combination of high performance computing, big data and intelligence capabilities such as Azure Batch, Azure Machine Learning and the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (formerly CNTK)," explained Microsoft.
In other AI-related news, Microsoft also announced today the launch of an Azure Bot service that will allow developers to leverage the Microsoft Bot Framework to deploy them on Azure. According to the technology giant, more than 50,000 developers are already using the Bot Framework to build chat bots. "We’ve made major strides in artificial intelligence just in the past five years, achieving milestones many people who have devoted their lives to the field wouldn’t have thought possible. Now, we have the opportunity to help our partners and customers use these breakthroughs to achieve their goals," shared the company.