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Microsoft Ventures announced this Monday that they have developed a new investment fund, solely dedicated to artificial intelligence companies. The CEO, Satya Nadella’s goals are to advance enough to make Microsoft the company that democratises AI, claiming a piece of the market projected will be worth $16.6 billion by 2022.  

The fund will be centred around AI companies that have a positive impact on society, starting off with an investment in Montreal’s Element AI. The Business Journal predicts that article that AI potentially could be as important for Nadella and Microsoft, as the Internet was for the Redmond-company under Bill Gates. http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2016/12/12/microsoft-ventures-fund-artificial-intelligence.html

The Microsoft Ventures AI fund will invest in companies that are focused on helping people and machines to work together in order to increase access to education, creating new jobs, enhancing capabilities of already existing workforces and improve disease treatment, according to the Business Journal.

Nadella laid out the company’s vision for the post-Internet world, where Nadella earlier this year laid out his principles for AI.  “AI must be designed to assist humanity; be transparent; maximize efficiency without destroying human dignity; provide intelligent privacy and accountability for the unexpected; and be guarded against biases,” Microsoft Ventures exec Nagraj Kashyap wrote in a blog post announcing the fund. “These principles guide us as we move forward with this fund.”

“AI holds great promise to augment human capabilities and improve society by tackling some of the world’s biggest problems. Our recently announced partnership with OpenAI is a key example of us working to use AI to address important issues such as climate change, inequality, health and education”, Kashyap writes.

Complaints have often been raised regarding AI being only applicable for people who have sufficient knowledge about the technology. Microsoft is now planning to address this issue, as Nadella recently stated that the company needs to play a role in making sure that the data converted by their customers are converted into actual insights that they can use.

Microsoft is now investing heavily in AI, building artificial intelligence within products such as Cortana (virtual assistant), cloud-based enterprise service Office 365 and the cloud-computing platform, Azure.

In addition to this, they targeted SwiftKey, the predictive keyboard software startup that they acquired earlier this year, for $250 million.

The Microsoft blog-post was first found at: https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/12/12/microsoft-ventures-making-the-long-bet-on-ai-people/#sm.00000153k5s2ovcvjwzzfzrzri950

The Business Journal article was first found at: http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2016/12/12/microsoft-ventures-fund-artificial-intelligence.html

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