Software programmers have long dreamed of software that can program new software autonomously using artificial intelligence. Microsoft is getting close to achieving that goal, with the help of some university programmers.
Cambridge University teamed up with Microsoft to create an AI program called DeepCoder. According to Business Insider, the software uses pieces of code from real software to fashion new code in response to problems. The software studies the functionality of pieces of code, and then pieces them together in unique ways.
As in other areas of AI development, this new software will probably be implemented gradually. At first, DeepCoder might simply solve existing problems faster or easier than humans can solve them. It could be a tool to save programmer’s time and reduce the number of programmers required for a given project. Eventually, though, DeepCoder might solve programming problems that a human could never solve alone.
If DeepCoder develops to that point, it is difficult to imagine what it might create. Ray Kurzweil and others have dreamed of a future with unlimited artificial intelligence. Software that creates software seems like a step in the right direction.
To be fair, though, DeepCoder is not the first software program to write code. Any high-level programming language is essentially writing code based on user inputs. What is unique here is the way in which DeepCoder creates the software (i.e., be selecting from existing software the pieces of code necessary to achieve a desired outcome).
Because of DeepCoder’s approach, it might face some absolute limits to what it can create. Although an extensive amount of software is available today, the number of functions software can perform is finite. Accordingly, DeepCoder’s ability to solve problems must also be finite.
Still, DeepCoder represents an exciting development. Microsoft and its competitors will likely continue to produce AI tools to aid and eventually replace software programmers in the years to come. The software these tools create could be revolutionary.
Microsoft is set for a huge showdown with Russian technology providers. Russian president has already urged officials of the state and corporations to cut down their consumption of foreign technology. As a result, Moscow is contemplating replacing some products from Microsoft with ones produced locally.
For instance, Microsoft Outlook’s email platform could soon be interchanged with a new system developed by the country’s Rostelecom PJSC. The program, which is set to commence soon, will see more than 6,000 computers redeveloped with the new system. If the new software comes to life, then it means Microsoft‘s Exchange Server will have to shut down.
In an article published by Bloomberg, Moscow’s Head of Information Technology Artem Yermolaev told reporters that more than 600,000 computers and servers would be updated with local software developed by New Cloud Technologies. According to Artem, the software will be tested to determine whether it can be used as a replacement for Windows.
Vladimir Putin has been advocating for increased dependence on local technology citing security threats. Putin is also worried about the reliability of foreign technology, especially in handling crucial national programs and databases. This poses a lot of threat to Microsoft because it controls the largest portion of the country’s $3 billion market. The country is also considering increasing taxes on US products following the US shut down of some Russian companies due to their invasion in 2014. Russian authorities have already put in place plans to ensure government agencies comply with the new directives before the end of 2017.
Cisco Systems Inc. will also feel the heat as a result of the switch. The government in Moscow has already replaced their system used in surveillance cameras with a local competitor. Oracle lost its market share when the government decided to switch from its popular database to an open-code system run by PostgreSQL software produced by local developers. If things go this way, Microsoft will soon find itself sidelined in the Russian market.
Microsoft’s new HoloLens has the potential to be a significant technological game changer, but its growth has been somewhat slow until now. Microsoft has recently opened sales of the HoloLens to anyone living in the U.S. or Canada, for a mere $3,000.
The HoloLens is not a straightforward virtual reality headset. Instead, it uses an augmented reality model in which computerized images are laid over the real world and users are able to interact with them. A video released of the project shows how the software can create an interactive model of an engine that allows users to see how different mechanical parts work together.
Now Microsoft is allowing developers to purchase and work on the HoloLens, and a significant increase in the tool’s potential is expected. Consumers and developers can buy up to five HoloLenses per person. Instead of having to purchase through a Microsoft sales representative, users can find the HoloLens easily in the Microsoft store online.
Of course, the devices do come with a slight catch. Purchasers must agree not to resell the devices and must acknowledge that the device is essentially a beta and not completely finished as a retail product. The acknowledgement also covers the no-return policy currently in place for the HoloLens.
Already, users are having a hard time getting their hands on the coveted device, and HoloLenses on eBay are already selling for nearly twice Microsoft’s retail rate.
Microsoft has sort to open up Skype to businesses. On May 19, 2016, the company launched new tools for Skype for Business SDK that will allow Android and iOS developers to integrate skype’s messaging, voice and audio capabilities into their mobile applications. The strategy will enable other business consumers using other platforms to have the Skype’s communication experience. The SDK will allow the developers to focus on building their products with unique features.
The Microsoft’s solution is meant for larger enterprises. However, message-focused startups have focused their resources towards generating revenue from this opportunity. Such organizations include chat tools provider Sendbird. The Skype for Business SDK will continue to use Microsoft’s existing layer such as the Skype for Business Online and Business Server depending on whether the company has deployed Unified Communications on their servers.
A review of the SDK shows that the integrations will be well suited for "remote advisor" functionality. The SDK will highly benefit the businesses who want to interact with their customers remotely over tablets and mobile phones through video chat, call or chat. Think about the advantages this SDK will have to the health sector. It will help the medical practitioners to share and review medical records. Send messages, lab results and more. Patients, on the other hand, can schedule an appointment with doctors in real-time chats or video calls. According to Microsoft, if a business is licensed for Skype for Business Online or Business Server, it will not incur additional costs for using SDKs.