Microsoft Creates New AI Lab to Take on DeepMind

Microsoft Creates New AI Lab to Take on DeepMind

Foto: Fotolia

Microsoft is setting up a new research lab focused on artificial intelligence with the goal of creating more general-purpose learning systems, according to Bloomberg.

The new lab, called Microsoft Research AI, will be based at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and involve more than 100 scientists from across various sub-fields of artificial intelligence research, including perception, learning, reasoning and natural language processing.

The goal, said Eric Horvitz, the director of Microsoft Research Labs, is to combine these disciplines to work toward more general artificial intelligence, meaning a single system that can tackle a wide-range of tasks and problems. Such a system, for instance, might be able to both plan the best route to drive through a city and also figure out how to minimize your income tax bill, while also understanding difficult human concepts like sarcasm or gestures. This differs from so-called narrow AIs, which are just designed to perform a single task well, for instance, recognize faces in digital photographs.

In entering the race to develop more general learning systems, Microsoft will be competing with other AI research companies, such as London-based DeepMind and San Francisco-based Google Brain, both divisions of Alphabet, as well as OpenAI, whose founders include Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, and GoodAI, a small research outfit in the Czech Republic.

"The field has undergone a tremendous amount of centrifugal force over the years," Horvitz said in an interview, noting how computer vision experts rarely talked to natural language processing experts or vice versa. The goal of the new Microsoft lab, he said, was to bring all these researchers back together and get them talking to one another and working on common goals.

In addition to its existing researchers, Horvitz said Microsoft plans to hire computer scientists and experts in fields such as cognitive psychology to join the new lab. The new Microsoft lab will also partner with the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Horvitz said.

In addition, Microsoft said Wednesday it was creating a new project called AI for Earth that will provide $2 million in cloud-computing credits and training in machine learning techniques to scientists doing research on sustainability issues related to agriculture, water, biodiversity and climate change. The project is being led by Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s chief environmental scientist.

More from category

MWC 2018: Intel Will Bring 5G to Mobile PCs Next Year

MWC 2018: Intel Will Bring 5G to Mobile PCs Next Year

23 Feb 2018 comment

Intel is continuing to build new products and collaborations for 5G across the network, client and cloud.

Samsung Begins Production of Largest SSD for Enterprise Systems

Samsung Begins Production of Largest SSD for Enterprise Systems

22 Feb 2018 comment

Samsung announced that it has begun mass producing the industry’s largest capacity Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) solid state drive (SSD), the PM1643, for use in next-generation enterprise storage systems.

Samsung Begins Production of 256GB eUFS for Automotive Applications

Samsung Begins Production of 256GB eUFS for Automotive Applications

16 Feb 2018 comment

Samsung announced that it has begun mass production of a 256-gigabyte (GB) embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) solution with advanced features based on automotive specifications from the JEDEC UFS 3.0 standard, for the first time in the industry.