In a step to narrow competition with Amazon (AMZN) Web Services and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google Cloud, Microsoft (MSFT) is bringing out faster artificial intelligence (AI) chips to perform computing tasks more quickly, besides helping people with disabilities. These chips, made by Microsoft’s long-time partner Intel (INTC), will be available for 42 cents an hour within Azure machine learning service.
The chips, which are used in the initiative called Project Brainwave, are expected to process images with AI models faster than Amazon or Google. They will help companies expand work on the cloud, besides allowing them to set up in their own locations a similar technology, providing more flexibility. This was announced by executive chief Satya Nadella at Microsoft’s annual conference for software developers.
Microsoft has already committed $25 million over the next five years on AI for accessibility programs to aid people with disabilities.
Earlier, a “Seeing AI” free app, which is being experimented by Microsoft to help people navigate using computer vision and narration, was introduced by Nadella at a prior Build conference. For deaf users, Microsoft’s translation tool provides real-time conversation captioning.
Apple (AAPL) and Google have been spending years on accessibility, utilizing AI for people with disabilities. As 90% of the computers are powered by Windows, Microsoft is focusing on AI to push the technology forward and connect it to various programs.
The AI technology has both benefits and potential dangers. The dangers were forewarned by Tesla (TSLA) chief Elon Musk, who had predicted that it could spark World War III. On the other hand, Facebook (FB) chief Mark Zuckerberg has said that AI would be used to sort photos, weed out bad behavior and to test apps. Microsoft is hoping to work on the technology’s positive side for a social cause, that also holds bigger market potential.
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