Why is Artificial Intelligence so fascinating?

By Rémi Obled R&D Consultant


“…because it’s the contrary of natural stupidity. “

Answers Harry Shum, Executive Vice President of Artificial Intelligence & Research at Microsoft. He sums up here in a funny way the major challenge his company is taking up today, as he wants to develop the firm’s activity in Artificial Intelligence and help its clients to create business value from it.23


Today, between the huge capacities of the Cloud, the enormous amount of collected data and the algorithms based on neural networks, Artificial Intelligence is not a science-fiction subject anymore.

It is disrupting and will disrupt every business sector, from Banking to Transportation and Health. That is why Artificial Intelligence is at the heart of Microsoft’s strategy. Their goal is to generalize AI and to use it in all their products and services, especially in the three following applications:

  • Computer vision, allowing them to identify people or things in a picture or to control content.
  • Automatic Speech Recognition, which can translate content in real time or identify different speakers, with an error rate inferior to that of a professional translator.
  • Natural language processing, whose goal is to interpret human natural language input – in the use of a chatbot for example – or to recognize emotions in a text.

All these functionalities are part of Microsoft Cognitive Services. They can be integrated to your applications through REST APIs available for online testing. Here are some examples of the deployed applications:

  • Microsoft’s Presentation Translator add-on for PowerPoint, which is able to translate a presentation in real time thanks to subtitles on the screen or directly on the smartphones of the attendees, in the language of their choice.
  • Image analysis helping scientists to identify snow leopards and thus to protect this endangered species
  • Video Indexer, providing a detailed analysis of a video by transposing the script into text.

In parallel with Artificial Intelligence, Microsoft is also investing in Virtual Reality. The new HP or Acer headsets with Windows SDK generalize access to mixed reality and introduce the new customer experience revolution, which is not limited by a keyboard, a mouse or a finger anymore.

Usecases are infinite. In the industrial sector, a shipyard technician can wear his headset to directly visualize in mixed reality the pipe he is about to install, instead of using a paper plan or a tablet.

In education and culture fields, you can find yourself in the midst of a museum, with an impressive level of detail, just by wearing a headset. In the banking industry, it’s easy to imagine replacing the 12 screens of a trading room by a simple headset…

Finally, Microsoft is also investing in the new paradigm: Quantum Computing. Quantum Computing is changing all you already know about computing architecture, replacing  bits by qubits. Qubits made by Microsoft are stabler than bits produced with other methods, and are consequently more adapted to mass production. This technology aims to deal with problems impossible to solve with the current architecture, and widens the scope of possibilities.

To conclude, for Harry Shum, “Microsoft’s ambition is to generalize access to Artificial Intelligence by injecting it in our products or by offering a new platform accessible to any developer and organization.”

Read the original article in French: Pourquoi l’Intelligence Artificielle fascine-t-elle autant ?

By Rémi Obled R&D Consultant
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Machine Learning


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