Microsoft has formed the Microsoft Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Research Group, bringing together Microsoft’s research organisation with more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers focused on the company’s AI product efforts. The new group will be led by computer vision luminary Harry Shum, a 20-year Microsoft veteran whose career has spanned leadership roles across Microsoft Research and Bing engineering.
This comes following Microsoft’s commitment to democratising AI for every person and organisation, making it more accessible and valuable to everyone and ultimately enabling new ways to solve some of society’s toughest challenges.
“We live in a time when digital technology is transforming our lives, businesses and the world, but also generating an exponential growth in data and information,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, in an official press statement. “At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering both people and organisations, by democratising access to intelligence to help solve our most pressing challenges. To do this, we are infusing AI into everything we deliver across our computing platforms and experiences.”
“Microsoft has been working in artificial intelligence since the beginning of Microsoft Research, and yet we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible,” said Shum, executive vice president of the Microsoft AI and Research Group. “Today’s move signifies Microsoft’s commitment to deploying intelligent technology and democratising AI in a way that changes our lives and the world around us for the better. We will significantly expand our efforts to empower people and organisations to achieve more with our tools, our software and services, and our powerful, global-scale cloud computing capabilities.”
For 25 years, Microsoft Research has contributed to advancing the state-of-the-art of computing through its groundbreaking basic and applied research that has been shared openly with the industry and academic communities, and with product groups within Microsoft. The organisation has contributed innovative technologies to nearly every product and service Microsoft has produced in this timeframe, from Office and Xbox to HoloLens and Windows. More recently, Shum has expanded the organisation’s mission to include the incubation of disruptive technologies and new businesses.
“My job has been to take Microsoft Research, an amazing asset for the company, and make it even more of a value-creation engine for Microsoft and our industry,” Shum said. “Today’s move to bring research and engineering even closer will accelerate our ability to deliver more personal and intelligent computing experiences to people and organisations worldwide.”
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