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Not Much Artificial About Microsoft’s Intelligence

Author: Mo Anwar | 5 min read | November 20, 2018

Machine learning is doing more than moving business forward at light speed. It’s also improving communications across organizations and addressing serious humanitarian concerns around the globe. Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence programming (AI) is giving global leaders the informational tools they need to meet those rising concerns and address those immense challenges.

Cortana Crafts Communications

For those not yet introduced, Cortana is Microsoft’s digital agent, designed to provide you with personal service for your every query by responding to both typewritten and voice commands. Configured as female, ‘she’ can manage calendars, send emails, create lists, and perform many similar mundane functions so you don’t have to do them. Microsoft is enhancing Cortana’s desirability by adding a new Skills Kit for Enterprise to her long list of capacities.

On an enterprise level, Cortana enables workers to perform company-specific tasks more quickly, efficiently and (perhaps most importantly) more accurately than they can do them themselves. Powered by the Azure Bot Service and leveraging both Language Understanding and Azure Cognitive Services, Cortana builds on trusted proprietary tools to create company-specific skills.

In terms of ease of use, Microsoft equates the transition to Cortana’s voice-controlled programming to the same transition you used to move from rotatory to touch based phone; once you’re comfortable with it, you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve with your new capabilities. Available only to invited users at this time, their experience with Cortana will surely enhance the experience of future Cortana fans, too.

Host AI-powered Meetings in Microsoft Teams 365

AI is truly erasing borders and even physical distances by putting the people and resources you need in the palm of your hand. Microsoft’s new vision for intelligent communications is bringing together all the elements of work that go into a specific project – people, data, documents, and apps – into a unified hub from which all work can flow.

At its core are the comprehensive meeting and calling capabilities now found in the Teams program. The Ignite conference introduced a new Skype infrastructure to facilitate enterprise-level video and voice communications. The full functioning of the suite already transforms today’s traditional meeting format:

  • Before each meeting, Teams bring relevant documents and information to team members, bringing them up to speed about who they’re meeting with and what they’ll be talking about.
  • Real-time data capture generates time-coded transcriptions, which include voice recognition for attributions to individual speakers.
  • The resulting record is then shared with the full team in the appropriate channel ensuring that everyone is kept in the loop.

With Teams already in use by over 125,000 international organizations (just six months after its launch), Microsoft is confident that the enhanced communications tool will soon become the ‘team tool’ of choice.

Bringing Humanity Home Through Technology

Perhaps the most appreciated introduction at the Ignite Conference was to AI for Humanitarian Action. Microsoft’s $40 million, five-year plan aims to help humanitarian groups address four critical global concerns:

  • Improving capacities for disaster response;
  • Attending to the needs of children;
  • Attending to the needs of refugees and displaced people, and
  • Addressing abuses and violations of human rights laws and policies.

Part of Microsoft’s AI for Good Initiative, AI for Humanitarian Action, is another example of the company’s focus on alleviating global suffering and improving both accessibility and environmental sustainability. By combining its immense data science and machine learning skills, Microsoft is dedicated to unlocking answers to some of the planet most aggrieved challenges.

Considering the depth, breadth and extent of the machine learning capabilities devised by Microsoft and now available to millions of its customers, you might say that there’s nothing ‘artificial’ about the benefits Microsoft offers or the gains it will help its users achieve.

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