• Megan Burberry

Microsoft and Artificial Intelligence

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

Microsoft and Artificial Intelligence

What is AI?


Artificial Intelligence is the age-old aspiration to create a machine with the cognitive functions of the human brain. AI has been around for decades, and you probably didn’t know this, but you’re already using it. From Amazon recommending movies for you to watch to your outlook calendars syncing automatically, AI is already benefiting you in your everyday life.

How does it work?


AI is different to coding. In coding, a set of instructions is inputted into the machine, which the computer then follows. With AI, the machine is taught a rule, and then it trains itself with data. It truly is futuristic.


So why now?


AI has been around since Alan Turing invented the Enigma Machine at Bletchley Park in World War II. Even back then, AI hugely transformed humanity, and Turing’s machine enabled Britain to crack intercepted code messages from the Nazis, which essentially won the Allies the war.


But now is the time that AI is really going to grow exponentially.


We’re now in the era of the software revolution, and this is due to 3 key things.


1 – Big Data. We live in an age in which the amount of data existing in the world is incomprehensible. 90% of the data in the world was generated in the last two years. And it’s not that shocking considering every minute, 16 million text messages are sent. Data is arriving in greater volumes and at greater speeds that ever. Even as you’re reading this, the latest stats on the amount of data existing is outdated by a factor of hundreds. This aggressive increase in the volume of data generated is paving the way for AI development.


2 – Massive Computing Power. The adoption of Cloud hosting means that computers can manage and work with bigger amounts of information with greater ease than ever before.


3 – Powerful Algorithms. The creation of algorithms that enable machine learning has given rise to this whole new possibility for Artificial Intelligence. Combine this with Big Data and Massive Computing Power, and the real-life applications of AI are set to increase at an exponential rate.


The benefits of AI


The opportunities for AI are endless. And the power of AI is already being harnessed in every sector.


Artificial Intelligence is already aiding surgeons in medical procedures, and while it is still in its infancy, the application of AI in medicine is expected to be world-changing.


Even now, Microsoft is working in partnership with Adaptive Biotechnics. Using the power of AI, they are working towards using a single blood test to track the millions of antigens present in the body, and then to map these against various diseases. With AI, work that would take decades to produce is done in a matter of days. If successful, this project could go on to produce a cure for cancer. Incredible things are possible with AI.


But AI is not just beneficial to medicine. Businesses are using AI to enhance security, increase employee efficiency and hone their online ad effectiveness. Regardless of the sector, AI has the potential to transform every industry.  


The drawbacks of AI


It’s not what we can do with AI, but what we should do with AI. The point being that you could hypothetically achieve anything with AI. But is it ethical?


There is the possibility of job displacement, and companies really need to consider the negative impacts AI could have within their organisation. While the opportunities for AI are incredible, there could be unintended negative impacts and companies need to take responsibility for this if they intend to use this new technology.  


To sum up, the power of AI is incredible and it’s coming fast. This could be the most game-changing piece of technology ever developed, and that the real-world impacts of it are unlike anything they’ve ever seen. The point still remains though that it isn’t what we can do with Artificial Intelligence, but what we should do.

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