It’s just been announced this morning that Microsoft has bought over Maluuba, a startup from Toronto that focuses on utilising deep learning technology for natural language processing. The term deep learning is an approach to artificial intelligence that is deemed by the tech industry to be have driven incredible gains in the field over the last five years.
Microsoft stated in the blog post when it announced the purchase that “We’ve recently set new milestones for speech and image recognition using deep learning techniques, and with this acquisition we are, as Wayne Gretzky would say, skating to where the puck will be next — machine reading and writing.”
In the summer of 2016, the startup shared with The Verge the results it received from its AI system that could read and understand text almost at the same level humans are capable of and it was even seen outperforming similar systems built by tech giants such as Google and Facebook.
Apart from taking over the company, Microsoft has also established more intimate relationships with Yoshua Bengio, who is a pioneer in the field of deep learning and also a former advisor to Maluuba. He will now become the advisor to Microsoft’s division hanlding all AI matters
A system such as the one by Maluuba could be used such that when integrated with Cortana, it helps consumers deal with everyday chores like reading emails. If a system is built such that not only does it know what emails you receive, but also understands the critical information that’s held within each message, its capabilities and possibilities are endless.
“Imagine a future where, instead of frantically searching through your organization’s directory, documents or emails to find the top tax-law experts in your company, for example, you could communicate with an AI agent that would leverage Maluuba’s machine comprehension capabilities to immediately respond to your request” – Microsoft
These, are just some of the numerous applications Maluuba could achieve by pushing state-of-the-art technology in terms of machine literacy.