May

Microsoft AI products

                                                 

Microsoft product strategy has always been and still remains that of ‘zero alternative’. Their ultimate policy is for their customers to have no choice but to embrace only Microsoft products. Consequently they created and are offering products and solutions in (almost) every segment of IT enterprise and consumer market, including, but certainly not limited to, their own data base, their own cloud services, operating system, office tools, programming language, and many more.

Not only do Microsoft offer wide variety of products, they tie them up together in a unified ecosystem that makes it easy for components to connect and interact. At the same time, this ecosystem is hostile to non-Microsoft products.

Microsoft strategy for the burgeoning, fast growing AI segment is similar:

Create products to address all parts of the AI market, add them to the ecosystem to ensure easy compatibility from within and difficulty of use from outside.

Currently the products on offer are:

- Microsoft AI engine, called LUIS. It is supposed to compete with other major industrial AI systems such as IBM Watson, and has similar training methodology. It offers webhook interfacing via endpoints.  

- Microsoft chatbot building platform, called, surprisingly, Microsoft Bot Platform. It addresses the popular demand for easy chatbot design and provides seamless connectivity with main user interfaces, such as web interface, SMS, mobile, and messaging platforms.

- In addition Microsoft offers their own messaging platform in Skype.

The main advantage of  using Microsoft AI products is the built-in connectivity with user interfaces.

The main disadvantage is in their ‘zero alternative’ policy - once you’ve chosen a Microsoft product you are likely will be forced to choose only Microsoft products for the duration of your project.

 

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

Social Marketing is Simple

                                                           

In its very essence social marketing is based on one simple foundation - give first, take later.

This concept of giving to the community is hardly possible to overestimate. It defines the way social networks operate and goes even deeper, to the basic principles of social interactions among humans.

In fact it is a much healthier foundation for business than traditional one, based on advertising.

Yet it runs contrary to what many entrepreneurs and business people perceive as a proper marketing approach.

Traditional marketing, such as billboards, radio ads, posters, banners, emails blasts, etc is based on two principles, a) the statistical law of big numbers, aiming to reach out to as large audience as possible while knowing that only a small percent would become interested, b) message of self-promotion and self-advertisment.  

Social marketing negates both of these principles.

Social marketing is personal, it operates individually, and in a personalised way. Which makes perfect sense from a common perspective. Would you rather be bombarded by the generic ads that in most cases have nothing to do with your interests and desires, or approached on a one-on-one basis with a chance to discuss your specific needs?

Social marketing is directed towards promoting the interests of others, not yours (or your business). Again it makes sense as we are a social species, we live in societies and rely on communication. The most successful communication strategy is the one that takes care of the needs of your communication partner.

And so, opposing the traditional marketing approach, social marketing is based on the idea of giving to the community. Which makes it more efficient than traditional marketing, if measured against the effort applied. In other words, taken 100 random prospects, we are more likely to convert them into customers if using social marketing than traditional marketing.  

But is it scalable?

(to be continued)

 

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WHAT IS AI TRAINING



AI training is a critical part of conversational AI solutions, a part that makes AI software different from any kind of software previously created.
AI training is not coding.
Unlike all other existing software which is fully coded.

Let us consider a simple example:
We create chatbots for two companies, one company is selling shoes, another is selling cars. From the software standpoint it is one chatbot solution running as an online service accessed remotely or a program available locally. In both cases they are two identical instances of the same software (one instance for the shoes company, another for the cars company).
Yet, for the first company the chatbot is supposed to talk about flip-flops, summer shoes, high heels and so on. For the second company, however, the chatbot is not expected to know any of that. Instead, the chatbot should be able to support conversations about car brands, car models, should know how to tell Toyota Camry from Toyota Corolla, etc. This shoes and cars knowledge is not programmable. It is trainable. It is not coded, instead it is a part of language processing capability that AI solutions like chatbots have. And herein lies the major differentiation and advantage of the AI solutions compared to traditional software.

How to train AI?
There are several ways to do it. Sometimes AI system can train itself, improve its linguistic ability over time. It also can be trained by professional linguists. And in some cases, by the users. The latter is the desirable scenario because businesses know better than anybody else what they want their chatbot to talk about.
It is not easy, given the existing state of AI technology, and usually requires a high level of technical knowledge. You may have heard mentions of intents and entities in chatbot discussions. These are examples of linguistic elements AI training is currently based on.
Without proper understanding of what these linguistic elements are and how language acquisition process works in existing AI systems it is better to leave AI training to professional linguists.

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