January 14, 2017 12:03:01 pm
Microsoft has acquired a Canadian startup called Maluuba, which focuses on deep learning for natural language understanding. Maluuba was founded by Sam Pasupalak and Kaheer Suleman from University of Waterloo. The vision of the company is to advance towards a more general AI by building ‘literate machines’ that can think, reason and communicate like humans.
“Maluuba’s expertise in deep learning and reinforcement learning for question-answering and decision-making systems will help us advance our strategy to democratize AI and to make it accessible and valuable to everyone — consumers, businesses and developers,” said Harry Shum, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research Group in a blog post.
Maluuba believes that human language is the holy grail in the field of AI, but is an extremely complex to understand. The aim of the startup is to conduct research in deep and reinforcement learning, and solving the problem of machine literacy through common sense reasoning, memory and communication.
Back in 2012, Maluuba was able to secure $2 million in funding from Samsung Ventures. The company the received $9 million in funding from Emerllion Capital and Nautilus Ventures.
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“Microsoft is an excellent match for our company. Their ambitious vision of democratizing AI to empower every person and every organization on the planet fundamentally aligns with how we see our technology being used. Microsoft provides us the opportunity to deliver our work to the billions of consumer and enterprise users that can benefit from the advent of truly intelligent machines,” the co-founders of the company wrote in an online post.
Microsoft is eyeing a future where a user can communicate with an AI agent that will immediately respond to a request of searching through your organisations directory, emails or documents for something – eliminating the need to waste valuable time trying to rummage through the data himself.
“The agent would be able to answer your question in a company security-compliant manner by having a deeper understanding of the contents of your organization’s documents and emails, instead of simply retrieving a document by keyword matching, which happens today,” Shum further explains.
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