Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) disclosed on Friday they have acquired the artificial intelligence start-up from Canada, Maluuba. Based out of Toronto, Maluuba focuses on using deep learning to process natural language.
Maluuba was established by the University of Waterloo students in 2010. Though the deal was announced late last week, but the purchase price was not revealed by either of the businesses. However, Microsoft revealed that all the 50 employees of Maluuba will be retained after retraining them.
There have been rapid gains in deep learning in the last five years, and Microsoft is expected to gain from this after this acquisition. They can now develop artificial intelligence with better communication skills and improved language understanding.
They are yet to come out with an artificially intelligent voice assistant like the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, for example, but they have been able to strengthen their AI capabilities greatly in the last few years. Last September, Maluuba started working with IBM (NYSE:IBM), Amazon, Google, and Facebook for launching a non-profit known as the “Partnership on AI” or “Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society”. Its aim is the advance the understanding of artificial intelligence.
Salesforce also purchased the deep-learning start-up MetaMind last April, and in August the machine-learning firm Turi was picked up by Apple. So there has been a lot of movement in this sector off late.
Microsoft to Have an Edge After the Acquisition
The Maluuba acquisition will give Microsoft the advantage of natural language processing. Wayne Gretzky says, “We’ve recently set new milestones for speech and image recognition using deep learning techniques, and with this acquisition, we are skating to where the puck will be next — machine reading and writing.”
Maluuba’s capabilities may now be integrated with Cortana, the digital assistant of Microsoft, which will then help people with their everyday chores such as email. They could come up with a system that doesn’t just know the emails received, but can also critically analyze the content in each one of them and grade the emails according to importance. There are many other possibilities as well for the enterprise services of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
The Future Gains From Maluuba’s Systems
For instance, in the future, instead of searching through the organization’s directory, emails or documents to find critical information, all you might have to do is just communicate with a smart AI agent, which will then use the machine comprehension abilities of Maluuba and come out with the correct data immediately.