Technology Record - Issue 27: Winter 2022

48 The term ‘machine learning’ was first coined in the late 1950s. Since then, the application of artificial intelligence has been at the heart of the global commercial and public sector vision for leveraging technology to predict outcomes with greater efficiency and automate previously human-reliant activities. Microsoft has been at the core of this movement, with the firm’s work to explore how AI and other intelligent technologies could be used to achieve these goals dating back to the foundation of Microsoft Research (MSR) in 1991. “From the earliest days at MSR, one of our main goals was to create more natural user experiences and to do this we used speech, language understanding and vision to model how people think and communicate,” says Lili Cheng, corporate vice president of Microsoft AI and research. “We have been committed to democratising these technical innovations by partnering with universities and the open-source community, publicly sharing our research for over 30 years. “All Microsoft products have incorporated innovations which began at MSR including the Azure cloud, developer tools, Xbox, Windows and Office. Today, given the vast amount of information people need to access and interact with for work, they can benefit from using AI as a co-pilot, helping them to prioritise their time so it is spent on the things that matter most.” Microsoft has collaborated with many organisations around the world to continue driving its research and delivering AI products that empower public sector and commercial businesses to achieve more. “MSR’s commitment to making the latest technological advances openly available means that more people can create innovative solutions BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S Microsoft’s Lili Cheng and Darren Bennett highlight how Microsoft and its partners are driving the evolution of artificial intelligence, the cloud and augmented reality solutions to empower businesses to achieve more COV E R S TOR Y evolution The AI of