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Microsoft Builds Supercomputer for AI

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Microsofts-Supercomputer-for-AI-1024x652.jpgWhile Microsoft is not what it could have been for consumer-AI, the intersection of quantum computing and supercomputers with AI is fascinating. Microsoft is among the leaders in enterprise AI.Subscribe to the Last Futurist, for more articles like this (enter Email top right).With Cloud adoption and Azure’s incredible success, Microsoft has entered another golden age.

While Amazon, Apple and Google race to tame AI for the healthcare sector, Microsoft needs to position itself in other domains.Now on May 20, 2020, Microsoft has built one of the top five publicly disclosed supercomputers in the world. Think of the scale here, the Azure machine has 285,000 processor cores and 10,000 GPUs to tackle a new class of artificial intelligence tasks.

No alt text provided for this imageMicrosoft needs to position itself to acquire OpenAI. Why are supercomputers relevant to the future of artificial intelligence? Well Supercomputers, the most powerful computing machines on the planet, are typically used for the most taxing problems. These powerful brains can think about jobs like simulating nuclear weapons explosions, predicting the Earth’s future climate and more recently, seeking drugs to fight the coronavirus. Microsoft needs to lead the AI for good movement.

Because China won’t do it. Google hasn’t done it. It has to be Microsoft!Microsoft’s stock is approaching all-time highs and is a defensive and a growth stock in troubling times. Microsoft has pooled together an incredible ecosystem of developers and B2B partners. AI ethics and innovation must be high on Microsoft’s list at it approaches its zenith of global influence in its lifecycle as a company.While making new infrastructure available in Azure to train extremely large artificial intelligence models, the company is doing a lot of little things right in the AI enterprise space. At some point in the future, Microsoft and OpenAI believe their massive computer will bring new sophistication to AI.

This is debatable.Large-scale AI models are beginning to learn in new ways across text, images and video, but for the U.S. to have a chance to keep up with China in the next few decades in AI, Microsoft needs a team like Google has with DeepMind. Microsoft’s collaboration with OpenAI is good, but it’s not enough to contribute largely to the future of AI.Microsoft’s Build 2020 developer conference reminds us that Microsoft is connected, but it’s still not an AI-focused company that it could be. OpenAI’s goal is not just to pursue research breakthroughs but also to engineer and develop powerful AI technologies that other people can use, however all that remains to be seen.

Chinese AI startups show a lot more potential in impacting the world in the short-term.Microsoft won’t always be great, so what will it use its legacy for? Microsoft is a 45-year old company, and while it’s on an interesting track, what would it take for it to be not just a Cloud and enterprise giant, but truly an artificial intelligence company? Is has to take more risks.The mission of OpenAI is closely aligned with Microsoft’s mission of democratizing AI so that every individual and business in the world can achieve more, an especially relevant thing in a Pandemic world where there is a reset in several sectors and massive unemployment.

Microsoft needs a nexus of AI talent and that nexus is OpenAI.It cannot just be about propping up Azure, whose growth is slowing. Azure Machine Learning and DeepSeed are great, but Microsoft needs to make bigger moves in AI to attract the top talent. In the future of self-supervised learning, Microsoft needs to be a leader. It takes more than just a supercomputer, it takes a more cohesive and rigorous AI business strategy.Subscribe to the Last Futurist, for more articles like this (enter Email top right).

Artificial Intelligence Report By Michael Spencer

Microsoft’s Supercomputer for AI, itportal.org

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