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Microsoft acquires AI firm Bonsai

Bonsai team to join Microsoft (Source: The Official Microsoft Blog)
Bonsai team (Source: The Official Microsoft Blog)
The Californian AI firm Bonsai achieved a few major breakthroughs in the field of industrial machine learning over the last years and will be joining Microsoft to help the latter in building better autonomous systems. As it usually happens with such deals, the financial terms have not been unveiled.

A wise man once said that "Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity" but many machines might soon be able to work without any input from a human — smart or not. The problems recently encountered by Tesla due to the inappropriate use of its automatic pilot system — not to mention the company's problems that have nothing to do with the automatic pilot — show that AI-driven vehicles will not replace those driven by humans anytime soon. On the other hand, industrial AI seems to take off quite nicely thanks to companies like Bonsai.

Californian firm Bonsai will soon be a part of Microsoft's commercial AI offering thanks to its "remarkable breakthroughs" that "will have a profound impact on AI development," revealed Microsoft's corporate vice president of business AI, Gurdeep Pall. The two highlights he mentioned are Bonsai's platform ability to train a simulated robotic arm to grasp and stack blocks 45 times faster than Google's DeepMind (in both cases, it was used the same approach of breaking down the task into basic concepts), next to the 30 times faster training — compared to the traditional approach — of an AI model for auto-calibrating a CNC machine, a task done by Siemens specialists with no AI expertise.

The financial terms of the deal have not been unveiled, and the details about Bonsai's team job as a part of Microsoft are also rather cryptic: "We’re really confident this unique marriage of research, novel approach and technology will have a tremendous effect toward removing barriers and accelerating the current state of AI development."

Are you afraid that AI might leave you jobless in the coming years? What do you think about the development of industrial, civilian, and military AI nowadays? Let us know in the comments.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 06 > Microsoft acquires AI firm Bonsai
Codrut Nistor, 2018-06-21 (Update: 2018-06-21)
Codrut Nistor
Codrut Nistor - News Editor
Although I have been writing about new software and hardware for almost a decade, I consider myself to be old school. I always enjoy listening to music on CD or tape instead of digital files and I will not even get into the touchscreen vs physical keys debate. However, I also enjoy new technology, as I now have the chance to take a look at the future every day. I joined the Notebookcheck crew back in 2013 and I have no plans to leave the ship anytime soon.