Microsoft Cognitive Services, a collection of 25 artificial intelligence (AI) APIs, continue to democratize the utilization of AI for use and consumption by third party apps. Machine learning, AI platforms take massive amounts of expertise and computer power to operate and such requirements have traditionally inhibited access to such technology by your average developer. However, Microsoft continues to expand access to such platforms through Cognitive Services APIs like Bing Speech, Content Moderator, Computer Vision, and many more.
"Cognitive Services is about taking all of the machine learning and AI smarts that we have in this company and exposing them to developers through easy-to-use APIs, so that they don't have to invent the technology themselves," Mike Seltzer, Principal Researcher at Microsoft's Speech and Dialog Research Group, commented in a blog post.
As an example, consider Microsoft-developed speech recognition technology. Seltzer and his team spent over 10 years developing algorithms that allow Microsoft's speech recognition engine to operate successfully in noisy environments, across dialects, and for specific user groups and settings. Outside of Microsoft, very few companies hold the resources necessary to build such functionality. But, Microsoft, offers that technology to third party apps via a few lines of code via the Custom Speech Service API (recently released in a public preview version).
Microsoft's suite of Cognitive Services APIs continues to expand. Currently, Microsoft offers 25 APIs across 5 AI categories (i.e. vision, speech, language, knowledge, and search). The APIs sit in varying stages of development. For instance, the Bing Speech and Content Moderator APIs are scheduled for general availability in March of this year; whereas, the Custom Speech Service was just released for public preview last week. For a complete list of Cognitive Services APIs and corresponding information and documentation, visit the Cognitive Services APIs site.
Microsoft is committed to bringing AI and machine learning to the developer community in a widely accessible capacity. Microsoft believes democratizing the technology will deliver "delightful and empowering experiences for end users." Continue to follow Microsoft's journey into AI as it continues to enhance its Cognitive Services portfolio and deliver groundbreaking technology to the hands of the developer community.