Microsoft deepens AI assets with Maluuba acquisition

January 16, 2017 // By Julien Happich
Last Friday, Microsoft's the acquisition of Canadian AI startup Maluuba focused on the use of deep learning for natural language understanding.

On Microsoft's official blog, Artificial Intelligence and Research Group Executive Vice President Harry Shum expects Maluuba’s expertise in deep learning and reinforcement learning for question-answering and decision-making systems will help Microsoft democratize AI and make it accessible to consumers, businesses and developers.

"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", he writes.

By joining their forces, the two companies aim to create literate machines that can think, reason and communicate like humans. Maluuba’s team has been addressing some of the fundamental problems in language understanding by modelling some of the innate capabilities of the human brain, from memory and common sense reasoning to curiosity and decision making.

Together with their engineering and research team, startup co-founders Sam Pasupalak and Kaheer Suleman will join Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence and Research organization created last fall. This acquisition also brings Yoshua Bengio, one of the world’s foremost experts in deep learning and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning, in an advisory role for Microsoft.

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