In stark contrast to this morning’s predominantly technical keynote, the Satya Nadella-led afternoon keynote delivered on the aspiration and humanity we were hoping for.
Though mobile first, cloud first is still the major refrain, a new wrinkle has found its way into the Microsoft fabric: AI. According to Nadella, AI is at the intersection of Microsoft’s three main pursuits – to create, build and reinvent.
Central to the need for AI and other forms of machine learning is the continued growth of the information explosion. This explosion of information leads to a problem that we at harmon.ie have been solving for years: information overload. While information is no longer scarce, human attention and time is. All of this while, as Nadella said, the pace of change and updates increases – something a report we issued earlier this year revealed.
We’ve long held the opinion, that technology must work for humanity and not the other way around. Our products seek to help users focus on what matters most, a line Nadella repeated in his keynote. In this talk, Nadella revealed that Microsoft is catching on and working to deliver on that promise humanized technology as well.
Nadella and Microsoft believe that the answer to giving human’s some of their time back is democratizing AI which they plan to do by breaking AI down into four digestible categories: agents, applications, services and infrastructure.
Microsoft’s agent is of course, Cortana, a digital personal assistant. Microsoft showed off various improvements to Cortana’s ability to read through things like emails to pull out tasks you committed to so that it can make sure you complete them.
Meanwhile on the application front, Microsoft is providing a lot of machine learning capabilities to third party vendors and of course creating deeper integrations within their own applications like Office 365 and Dynamics 365. The latter can now make recommendations in your email based on changes to customer data.
Services take many forms, but the ones Microsoft is clearly most excited about are the bots born from its bot framework. Bots have great potential to be a time-saving replacement for traditional apps but Microsoft has yet to demonstrate that in a truly compelling way. Time will tell. In the meantime, I suggest checking out what our VP of Product Strategy, David Lavenda has had to say on the bot subject.
As for infrastructure, Microsoft delved back into the technical side of things and primarily reiterated what it had said earlier in the day: they have a lot of power in their cloud. Apparently their cloud-based super computer can read War and Peace in two seconds!
Nadella capped off the mostly inspirational keynote by saying Microsoft “wants to bring intelligence to everything, everywhere for everyone.”
If you’re interested in seeing how harmon.ie brings intelligence to the Outlook and Office 365, come stop by our booth (#545) where we’ll be showing off our award-winning products and announcing something new!