Is the Office closed? Microsoft announces new AI research incubator

Microsoft has created a new research incubator for scientists and engineers to work towards general-purpose artificial intelligence.

The incubator will tackle the development of AI that can be deployed into all products, rather than narrow AI, which is built for a singular purpose.

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This type of all-knowing AI is highly sought after, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon have all invested millions to try and create a self-aware and wide-ranging intelligence.

Microsoft has based the incubator inside the Research and AI team, which was set up last September to bring AI researchers and scientists from all ends of the company together.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has placed AI at the forefront of the company’s movement, which includes cloud computing, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things. The company announced layoffs and a reorganization around a core composed of its Azure cloud platform and moving away from its traditional productivity software.

Collaboration with MIT

That has manifested itself in several of the company’s major tools, like Skype with the new Translator service and Cortana, the personal assistant on Windows devices. The deployment has also hit Microsoft’s enterprise side, with Azure Machine Learning a key component for businesses.

Microsoft will collaborate with MIT’s Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines on the AI research.

The company has also launched an ethics oversight panel for the AI research team, who will act as an advisory board on the right approach to artificial intelligence. This will co-exist alongside Microsoft’s cross-company ethical AI partnership with Amazon, Google, Facebook, and IBM.

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