by Ben Popper, The Verge
Maluuba brings a deep learning pioneer into the fold at Microsoft
Microsoft announced this morning that it has acquired Maluuba, a Toronto startup focused on using deep learning for natural language processing. Deep learning is an approach to artificial intelligence currently in vogue that has driven incredible gains in the field over the last five years. As Microsoft wrote in the blog post announcing the purchase, “We’ve recently set new milestones for speech and image recognition using deep learning techniques, and with this acquisition we are, as Wayne Gretzky would say, skating to where the puck will be next — machine reading and writing.”
The Verge covered Maluuba in the summer of 2016, when the startup shared the results of an AI system that could read and comprehend text with near human capability, outperforming similar systems shown off by Google and Facebook. Along with acquiring the company, Microsoft has also established closer ties with Yoshua Bengio, a pioneer in the field of deep learning who served as an advisor to Maluuba, and will now become and advisor to Microsoft’s AI division.