Artificial intelligence is the next big thing in the tech industry and the companies are spending fortunes on them. In the race to get better than others in the shortest time, all biggies including Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are making acquisitions to boost their capabilities. Recently, Microsoft acquired Maluuba, a deep learning startup that will boost the company’s position in AI.
The pioneer in AI Yoshua Bengio, who was deeply involved in Maluuba, will now work as an advisor for Microsoft. He also leads the Institute for Learning Algorithms under the University of Montreal. He even co-founded a startup called Element AI, in which Microsoft promptly invested. Microsoft has been keeping its eyes on Bengio for a long time for his immense contribution to AI and developing talents in the field.
“Yoshua Bengio, one of the world’s foremost experts in deep learning … will also be advising Microsoft and interacting directly with me,” Harry Shum, executive vice president at Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research Group said in a blog post. “As an admirer of Yoshua’s work from a distance, I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to work more closely with him and to benefit from his deep learning systems expertise.”
Bengio is indeed an asset for which Microsoft went ahead with the Maluuba deal, but there is another reason for the company’s interest. Maluuba is one of the top companies involved in deep learning for natural language processing. Launched in 2010, the company focuses on developing software to aid computers to develop reasoning capabilities.
Maluuba has provided its technology to major brands like Samsung, LG, and even Qualcomm. With Qualcomm, the company demoed voice-based communication system for Maserati car. Sam Pasupalak and Kaheer Suleman, the co-founders of Maluuba, will be joining Microsoft’s artificial intelligence group and all the 50 employees of the company will be retained. Both Microsoft and Maluuba refused to reveal the deal price.