Microsoft’s artificial intelligence rolls out new tools

Wednesday June 14 2017

Microsoft Chief executive officer Satya Nadella

Microsoft Chief executive officer Satya Nadella addressing developers at the Build 2017. PHOTO FILE | NATION 

By ALLAN OLINGO
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Microsoft has announced new tools and services to help developers modernise existing apps and build more intelligent ones on every platform.

The firm also announced new breakthroughs in its artificial intelligence research, with developments in machine learning, speech recognition, and enabling machines to recognise what they see, which Microsoft hopes will improve the quality of users’ lifestyles.

“Now, we can see personal assistants making life easy for people in their workplaces and homes, answering questions and doing simple chores like controlling lighting, entry and exit.

"We have also made headway with our digital assistants making employees lives easier by simple features like audio calendar reminder, traffic collation and such,” said Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft’s AI and research group.

The technology giant also unveiled a number of new artificial intelligence capabilities that can be integrated into everything from online presentations to business database management.

While addressing developers at the Build 2017, Microsoft’s annual developer conference, chief executive officer Satya Nadella announced the Cortana Skills Kit, a new Azure data and cloud service, meant to help developers quickly modernise their existing apps; new AI and Azure services that allow any developer to more easily build intelligent apps; Internet of Things edge and AI services built for a future with an intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.

The Cortana Skills Kit lets developers create bots using Microsoft’s intelligent digital assistant, while the Azure IoT Edge helps developers bring machine learning and other advanced capabilities to other devices on the Internet of Things.

Through the introduction of the Microsoft Bot Framework, developers will now be able to create new ways for people to interact with AI in conversational ways.

One of the new presentations that uses this service is the PowerPoint presentation translator that will use Microsoft’s Translation APIs to enable real-time translations in a variety of languages, including Kiswahili, during PowerPoint presentations.