SEATTLE -- Microsoft is betting that artificial intelligence is the future of computing. At its Build developer conference today, the company announced a new slew of tools for developers to incorporate AI into their apps.
The company released 29 new tools as part of Microsoft Cognitive Services, a series of AI cabilities that are easy to plug into and train for existing apps. They include recognizing gesture, video indexing, search queries, live translation and search tools.
These include Project Prague, which utilizes an Intel RealSense camera to recognize gesture input across a number of apps. For instance, in a demo I witnessed, a user could close and open a fist to make a microphone-dropping animation appear on screen, then switch to YouTube and pinch a video to fullscreen and finally use gesture controls for gaming.
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In a separate demo, a Microsoft rep used an existing PowerPoint translator (opens in new tab) tool to switch a PowerPoint document from English to French. In addition, he was able to have the microphone recognize his speech and translate it to other languages on the fly, creating subtitles for the presentation. In theory, you could scan a QR code and get a customized presentation in any of the 60 supported languages.
In another demo, custom vision service, an app called What-Plantscanned photos and categorized them based on previous machine learning. The program was able to call up every picture of a plant it had ever seen, as well as label its species and rank them by how sure it was that it was correct.
These are all tech demos, but they show possible use cases for AI in the future. Microsoft assured attendees that every app, especially Office, will add AI capabilities in the future. Just how soon will depend on how fast developers use the new tools.
Image: Microsoft engineer Kfir Karmon drops a mic on screen using a gesture and a RealSense camera. Credit: Andrew E. Freedman / Laptop Mag.
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