Microsoft announces AI discovery group

The group will comprise more than 5000 specialists to drive forward innovation

Microsoft has announced it will take the next step in artificial intelligence (AI) by launching a group that tasked specifically with coming up with the machines of the future.

The AI discovery group will be made up of 5,000 computer scientists and engineers in Microsoft's Research group, along with the company's Information Platform Group, Bing and Cortana product groups, and Ambient Computing and Robotics teams.

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"Today, AI is shifting the computer science research supply chain and blurring lines between research and product," Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft's AI and Research Group, said.

"End-to-end innovation in AI will not come from isolated research labs alone, but from the combination of at-scale production workloads together with deep technology advancements in algorithms, systems and experiences."

He went on to explain how the group will help Microsoft become a frontrunner in the AI race, accelerating innovation and helping the company come up with new products to meet customer demand.

Shum referenced much of the work the company has completed around AI, including the Bing search engine, Skype Translator, XiaoIce chatbot and the Cortana virtual assistant, which all form Microsoft's huge services portfolio.

"Today marks the next step in our journey to democratise AI for the world," Shum continued. "As Satya Nadella said, we are pursuing AI so that we can empower every person and every organization with tools they can use to go solve the most pressing challenges of our society and our economy."

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Earlier this week, Microsoft announced it had delivered a supercomputer in the cloud, powered by AI, which will be used to make Microsoft's Bing search engine even more powerful.

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