Microsoft’s Azure Stack preview adds support for Azure Functions and App Service

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 Azure Stack is one of Microsoft’s most ambitious projects in the data center space. The goal of Azure Stack is, at its core, to bring many of the features of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform into the enterprise data center. While there are some obvious advantages to using public cloud services like Azure, AWS or Google Cloud, after all, for many customers, running their… Read More

April 7th 2017 microsoft

Amazon’s Rekognition learns to guess your age

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screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-10-30-27-am You know how old you are. You know how old your friends think you are. Heck, you even know how old Microsoft thinks you are. But at the end of the day, does anyone other than Amazon really matter? Until now, the only way for you to know how old Amazon thought you were was to look at products recommended to you. I apparently spent too much time researching sci-fi short stories yesterday… Read More

February 11th 2017 microsoft

Microsoft CEO: We Are Not Anywhere Close To Achieving Artificial General Intelligence

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Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, recently was interviewed by Ludwig Siegele of The Economist about the future of AI (artificial intelligence) at the DLD in Munich, Germany where he spoke about the need to democratize the technology so that it is part of every company and every product. Here’s an excerpt transcribed from the video interview:

What is AI?

The way I have defined AI in simple terms is we are trying to teach machines to learn so that they can do things that humans do, but in turn help humans. It’s augmenting what we have. We’re still in the mainframe era of it.

There has definitely been an amazing renaissance of AI and machine learning. In the last five years there’s one particular type of AI called deep neural net that has really helped us, especially with perception, our ability to hear or see. That’s all phenomenal, but if you ask are we anywhere close to what people reference, artificial general intelligence… No. The ability to do a lot of interesting things with AI, absolutely.

The next phase to me is how can we democratize this access? Instead of worshiping the 4, 5 or 6 companies that have a lot of AI, to actually saying that AI is everywhere in all the companies we work with, every interface, every human interaction is AI powered.

What is the current state of AI?

If you’re modeling the world, or actually simulating the world, that’s the current state of machine learning and AI. But if you can simulate the brain and the judgements it can make and transfer learning it can exhibit… If you can go from topic to topic, from domain to domain and learn, then you will get to AGI, or artificial general intelligence. You could say we are on our march toward that.

The fact that we are in those early stages where we are at least being able to recognize and free text, things like keeping track of things, by modeling essentially what it knows about me and my world and my work is the stage we are at.

Explain democratization of AI?

Sure, 100 years from now, 50 years from now, we’ll look back at this era and say there’s been some new moral philosopher who really set the stage as to how we should make those decisions. In lieu of that though one thing that we’re doing is to say that we are creating AI in our products, we are making a set of design decisions and just like with the user interface, let’s establish a set of guidelines for tasteful AI.

The first one is, let’s build AI that augments human capability. Let us create AI that helps create more trust in technology because of security and privacy considerations. Let us create transparency in this black box. It’s a very hard technical problem, but let’s strive toward saying how do I open up the black box for inspection?

How do we create algorithm accountability? That’s another very hard problem because I can say I created an algorithm that learns on its own so how can I be held accountable? In reality we are. How do we make sure that no unconscious bias that the designer has is somehow making it in? Those are hard challenges that we are going to go tackle along with AI creation.

Just like quality, in the past we’ve thought about security, quality and software engineering. I think one of the things we find is that for all of our progress with AI the quality of the software stack, to be able to ensure the things we have historically ensured in software are actually pretty weak. We have to go work on that.

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January 19th 2017 microsoft, Technology

Crunch Report | Nintendo Switch Hits the Market on March 3

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Nintendo Switch to hit the market on March 3, San Francisco District Attorney brings lawsuit against Lily, Moon Express is going to the Moon and Microsoft buys AI startup Maluuba. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

January 14th 2017 microsoft, News, Technology

The latest Windows Insider build will help you sleep better

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Launch of Microsoft's Windows 10 in Sydney on July 29, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Microsoft launched one of its larger Insider Builds for Windows 10 today. The new version (15002) includes a plethora of new features that touch everything from the Start menu to the Edge browser, Windows Ink, Cortana, Defender and Windows’ built-in accessibility features. All of those are great, but the one new feature that may make the biggest difference in your day-to-day use of… Read More

January 10th 2017 microsoft

Microsoft launches a new cloud platform for connected cars

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To accelerate the time it will take for autonomous vehicles to get on the road safely, at CES 2017 Carlos Ghosn announced a breakthrough technology called "Seamless Autonomous Mobility," or SAM. Developed from NASA technology, SAM partners in-vehicle artificial intelligence (AI) with human support to help autonomous vehicles make decisions in unpredictable situations and build the knowledge of in-vehicle AI. This technology could potentially enable millions of driverless cars to co-exist with human drivers in an accelerated timeline. It is part of Nissan Intelligent Integration. Microsoft isn’t building its own connected car — but it is launching a new Azure-based cloud platform for car manufacturers that want to use the cloud to power their own connected-car services. The new Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform will go live as a public preview later this year.
“This is not an in-car operating system or a ‘finished product’,&#8221… Read More

January 6th 2017 microsoft

The Conversational Computing Revolution is Upon Us

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“We’ve long dreamed of talking computers,” noted Barry Briggs, consultant and former CTO for Microsoft, where he helped lead the company’s transition to the cloud and is generally known as a pioneer in the computing industry. What Briggs is referring to is advent of talking devices and conversational interfaces which are just now beginning to reshape how we use computers, and more importantly how we interact with data.

Formerly, according to Briggs, talking computers (such as ELIZA) were more or less a trick. “After a time, because of the program’s simplicity, the novelty wears off,” he said.

However, things are advancing so fast that conversational Star Trek style computer and device interaction is foreshadowing a transformative societal shift. Briggs said in January 2014, “The limitations are really gone. We have built software for decades now thinking about what are the limitations that the hardware or the amount of storage for the network place upon us. Those limitations don’t exist anymore.”

Fast forward to today Briggs writes:

“Because of the nearly limitless computing and storage capacity in the cloud, and because of great advances in AI, machine learning, speech recognition, and data storage and analytics, Weizenbaum’s primitive ELIZA program has evolved into something far more magical and useful,” says Briggs. “Perhaps, even, we’re at the advent of the next big shift in computing, fueled by artificial intelligence and built around a behavior that is most natural to humans: conversations.”

Briggs sees bots at the advent of this conversational shift. “Want a pizza? Just ask Domino’s chatbot. Or PizzaHut’s chatbot. Need to get somewhere? Ask Uber.”  

He wonders, “Can bots become the new UI?”

“For business, the transformation of conversational computing is just beginning. As bots are connected to corporate databases, for example, they’ll simplify tasks from onsite repairs to scheduling meetings into simple conversational actions like, “What parts do I need to fix this?” or “What time is Customer X available next Monday?”

Eventually, by taking advantage of the massive data storage and mining capabilities available in the cloud, bots will get to know you, providing intelligent suggestions like, “While you’re on site with the customer, I’d suggest examining the engine gearbox, I’m seeing some early failures in other installs,” and learning from previous experiences: “Did the fix I suggested last time help?”

We’ve come a long way from Weizenbaum’s ELIZA. What started as a bit of sleight-of-hand programming has turned into an entirely new, intuitive and efficient way of interacting with computers. Conversational bots built on cloud-based artificial intelligence enable new frontiers in customer intimacy, simplify access to information, and help businesses and consumers make more informed decisions – quicker.”

Read the full article at the Microsoft Transform Blog…

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December 29th 2016 microsoft, Technology

Tech Titans Meet With Trump: Video, Pics and Opening Transcript

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The tech titans of Silicon Valley (and a few other places) met with President Elect Donald Trump at his request today. Notably, Trump said that any of them could call him directly if their companies needed help. He said that there is no chain of command here.

“I’m super excited about the possibility that this could be the innovation Administration,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg added, “I’m excited to talk about jobs.”

The complete transcript of Trump’s opening remarks to the group:

“Well, I just want to thank everybody. This is a truly amazing group of people. I won’t tell you the hundreds of calls we’ve had asking to come to this meeting (laughter). I will say Peter (Thiel) was sort of saying, no those companies are too small, and these are monster screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-7-16-14-pmcompanies.

I want to start by thanking Peter because he saw something very early, maybe before we saw it, of course he’s known for that in a different way. He has been so terrific and so outstanding. He got just about the biggest applause at the Republican National Convention. He’s ahead of the curve and I want to thank him and (while shaking his hand) you’re a very special guy.

I want to add that I’m here to help you folks do well and you are doing well right now. I’m very honored by the bounce, everybody is talking about the bounce, so everybody in this room has to like me at least a little bit. We are going to have to try and have that bounce continue.

Perhaps even more importantly, we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There is nobody like you in the world. There is nobody like the people in this room. Anything we can do to help this go along, we are going to be there for you. You call my people, you call me, it doesn’t make any difference, we have no formal chain of command around here.

We are honored to have Gary, the President of Goldman Sacks, left Goldman Sacks to do this. And Wilbur, everybody knows Wilbur, they don’t call him Wilbur Ross on Wall Street, they just say oh it’s Wilbur (laughter). There’s nobody like him.

We are going to do fair trade deals, we’re going to make it a lot easier for you to trade. Across borders, there are a lot of restrictions and a lot of problems. If you have any ideas on that, that would be great because there are a lot of restrictions and a lot of problems. You probably have less of a problem than some companies because some companies have massive problems, but we are going to solve those problems.”

Who Was There?

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December 15th 2016 Facebook, Google, microsoft, Technology

Microsoft debuts brilliant Cortana SDK strategy

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The strategy potentially means that Cortana will show up on many more devices and device types than if it Microsoft had simply copied Echo.

The post Microsoft debuts brilliant Cortana SDK strategy appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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December 15th 2016 microsoft

NORAD’s Santa Tracker counts down the days until Christmas 2016 with Bing’s help

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In 1955, NORAD’s number was mistakenly printed in a 1955 Sears Roebuck & Co. holiday ad. The organization has been tracking Santa ever since.

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December 10th 2016 bing, microsoft