Microsoft creates artificial intelligence research group with 5,000 computer scientists


Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to further its artificial intelligence research.

After a string of social-geared announcements, Microsoft has expressed its intention to “democratize AI” for every person an organization. To do this, the company has formed the Microsoft Research and AI group.

The research group will be comprised of over 5 thousand computer scientists and engineers focused on the company’s artificial intelligence products, and will be led by Harry Shum.

Shum is the executive vice president of technology and research at Microsoft who currently leads several research groups including those for Bing and Cortana, which are primarily focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning. In addition, Shum heads the Ambient computing and Robotics teams and leads Microsoft Research.

“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 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. 

“At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering both people and organizations, by democratizing 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,” he continued. 

Several of the groups Shum already oversees will join the newly formed group, including Information Platform headed by David Ku, Cortana and Bing headed by Derrick Connell, and the Ambient Computing and Robotics team headed by Vijay Mital. Combined, the Microsoft Research and AI group will include three segments; AI product engineering, basic and applied research labs, and New Experiences and Technologies (or NExT). 

In a statement sent to MobileSyrup, Microsoft declared its intention behind the creation of this group is to make AI more accessible to everyone and to facilitate its use to solve society’s largest challenges. Microsoft’s latest announcements reflect this trend both in its focus on AI and its focus on social good.

In addition to bringing several new artificial intelligence features to Office 365 and Dynamics 365, Microsoft recently contributed to its earlier commitment of providing $1 billion worth of Microsoft cloud resources to non profits by making the cloud available to eligible nonprofits for free at up to $5 thousand per year.

Related: Microsoft wants to bring eligible nonprofits onto its cloud service