Microsoft Touts AI-Oriented Architecture for the Enterprise
MICROSOFT IGNITE — Artificial intelligence (AI) ranked No. 2 in CompTIA’s Top 10 New Emerging Technologies, released last week. It landed just behind IoT. The reason for the list is to give partners a realistic compass for where to make investments in their businesses. Just this week, Microsoft announced products that target AI and data in business applications.
So, it’s no surprise to see a packed room of attendees at the “AI-Oriented Architecture: The New Enterprise Paradigm” session Tuesday at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Florida. As the vendor notes, AI is one of the most disruptive forces behind digital transformation. AI is poised to change the way apps are developed and deployed.
“Today, there’s a new revolution, and it’s an AI-oriented architecture where a lot of functions instead of being programmed, are being learned using AI,” Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president and chief technology officer of artificial intelligence at Microsoft, told the audience. “In developing capabilities in applications some of which are programmed as in the traditional sense and some of which are learned from data – and, we’re making these things work together – there’s a unique architecture that comes into play when you build such capabilities.”
The future of software is a combination of traditional programming logic and AI. In addition to the input data and program logic – elements of traditional programming – when you add AI-oriented architecture, there’s an additional piece of data — predictive models build on specific functions.
Think of a shopper buying products on a website. There is associated data that shows what the customer bought, giving insight into what else they might like to buy.
There’s a lot that AI brings to the enterprise. One of the biggest transformations that AI brings today is in enabling natural user interfaces, such as voice computing or handwriting recognition.
“The biggest revolution in human computing that’s happening today, as we speak and in the next few years, is being driven by AI,” said Sirosh. “With natural learning interfaces, computing devices will adapt to our needs and preferences for the very first time. Up until now, we had to learn computers — how to type and how to track using a mouse, [and so on]. Now they’ll start adapting to us.”
Handwriting recognition, also known as digital ink, gives the user the ability to express things in a way that can’t be achieved with a keyboard. Think about drawing on a map or using mathematical equations; intelligent ink allows for freedom of expression.
Microsoft has already begun its journey of bringing natural learning interfaces in PowerPoint and Word. There are machine-learning models for inking, such as ink classifications, layout analysis, shape recognition and handwriting recognition — and these models are in more than 60 languages.
In a cloud-powered intelligent inking demo, the audience was shown how inked data can be stored as well as searched. Ink has been around for about 20 years with roots in the pre-cloud era.
Microsoft’s mission is to give customers the tools to create expressive, intuitive and intelligent ink apps.
“We’re looking [to] build faster and [with] more frequent updates, which is why we’re moving things to the cloud for a consistent experience, bringing bigger and better natural-language models that will produce more powerful results, and to give that to all of your devices,” said Robert Houser, principal SDE at Microsoft.
The next step in this AI journey is to encapsulate the work that’s been done in this area in cloud APIs in Azure.
“Then you can call it from a web app on an iPad, like you just saw in the demo, and developers can start using it in their software applications,” Sirosh said.
He contends that every organization in the future will need an AI-oriented architecture to empower employees, engage customers, optimize operations and transform products.