On Monday, Microsoft unveiled some new machine learning tools at the Ignite conference in Orlando. The software giant announced the release of the Azure Machine Learning Experimentation service, the Azure Machine Learning Workbench, and the Azure Machine Learning Model Management service. Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing service, the platform which will host the new tools. The tools will help developers both build new artificial intelligence (AI) models and use existing ones built by Microsoft or third parties.
According to TechCrunch, the Experimentation Sevice will help developers to “quickly train and deploy machine learning experiments.” Microsoft notes that the Machine Learning Workbench will be a “control panel for your development lifecycle and a great way to get started using machine learning.” The Workbench will also be able to automatically convert all data, making it easier for the machine learning algorithms to handle it. Finally, the Model Management service will allow for the easy deployment and management of models.
All of Microsoft’s new tools are compatible with open-source frameworks not developed by Microsoft, which is a huge win for the democratization of AI. Microsoft may realize that the software to build AI may not be as monetizable as hosting the computing power necessary to run demanding AI software.
Just as SpaceX is giving more ideas the chance to flourish with cheaper access to the cosmos, Microsoft could help to facilitate new leaps forward in the development of AI. Developers with excellent ideas but a lack of support or infrastructure now have the means to deploy their concepts and experiment with them. Further development of Microsoft and Elon Musk’s OpenAI will continue to fuel this kind of accessibility and perhaps allow us to take the next steps toward real-life, powerful, and practical AI systems.