Microsoft acquires AI startup Lobe to make deep learning more accessible

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 14 September 2018
Microsoft acquires AI startup Lobe to make deep learning more accessible

Microsoft has acquired San Francisco based AI startup company Lobe in order to make deep learning more accessible. Lobe’s visual interface lets people easily create intelligent apps, without the need for coding. These apps can understand hand gestures, hear music, read handwriting and more.

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Kevin Scott, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Microsoft, said: “Technology has already transformed the world we live in. Computers are ubiquitous, from the machines on our desks to the devices in our pockets and in our homes. Now, breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning are helping scientists treat cancer more effectively, farmers figure out how to grow more food using fewer natural resources and give people from different countries the ability to communicate across language barriers.

“In many ways though, we’re only just beginning to tap into the full potential AI can provide. This in large part is because AI development and building deep learning models are slow and complex processes even for experienced data scientists and developers. To date, many people have been at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing AI, and we’re committed to changing that.

“Over the last few months, we’ve made multiple investments in companies to further this goal. The acquisition of Semantic Machines in May brought in a revolutionary new approach to conversational AI, and the acquisition of Bonsai in July will help reduce the barriers to AI development through the Bonsai team’s unique work combining machine teaching, reinforcement learning and simulation. These are just two recent examples of investments we have made to help us accelerate the current state of AI development.

“We look forward to continuing the great work by Lobe in putting AI development into the hands of non-engineers and non-experts.  We’re thrilled to have Lobe join Microsoft and are excited about our future together to simplify AI development for everyone.”

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