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Microsoft To Add Staff At MSN As It Turns To AI

AI will replace human writers.
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AI will pick up the relevant news and make optimal editorial choices to enhance content at MSN, hence human staff has been let go. Microsoft is turning to Artificial Intelligence for editorial choices. According to a news report, Microsoft is mulling further cuts to its editorial team at MSN.

Microsoft turns its head towards artificial intelligence amid controversial layoffs.

In June, Microsoft had cut dozens of people from its editorial team at MSN after a decision to leave news choices to an AI-driven algorithm. The jobs cuts led to almost 50 of its US contractors being laid off.

According to some digital news wires, this time, full-time employees will be let go and even some senior staff are targeted.

Microsoft, in response to the earlier layoffs, had said in a statement, "Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic."

So far it has not responded to any queries about the present plans.

More Staff At MSN As It Turns To AI

A contract employee let go in June said in an interview that MSN intends to use AI to replace the production work that they had been doing. The AI will use algorithms to identify trending news stories from dozens of publishing partners. It will even rewrite headlines and find better accompanying photographs or slide shows.

"It's been semi-automated for a few months but now it's full speed ahead," one of the terminated contractors said. "It's demoralizing to think machines can replace us but there you go."

Microsoft is known to make personnel and workforce adjustments around July, at the beginning of its fiscal year. In 2017, Microsoft reorganized its sales team when it transitioned to cloud computing. Thousand of its sales people across the world were asked to leave. It was the biggest change in its sales team in the 42-year history of the company.

The move to reorganize the sales team came about a year after the departure of Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, who was in charge of the global sales business. It was also a way for Satya Nadella to bring about changes in the working of the company after his appointment as CEO.

Besides the editorial staff losing jobs at MSN, Microsoft has brought about some sweeping changes in the company. Very recently, it decided to shut down all its retail outlets. It also stopped streaming service, Mixer.

The decision to close almost all physical outlets will cost $450 million, but analysts say it will be beneficial in the long run. Also the pandemic has changed the way people shop, so retail stores will lose their significance post-Covid. Especially in electronics, where online shopping has found wider acceptance amongst buyers.

Also Microsoft outlets never gained the special status of an Apple store.

The Microsoft stores were opened a decade ago as competition to Apple stores and showcased its own Surface PCs and Xbox game consoles, as well as HP, Dell, and Lenovo devices.

However, the concept never really took off.

"While the stores served as an event space for Microsoft, and a way for users to go hands-on with Windows devices, the stores ultimately contributed 'negligible retail revenue'," said Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives.

Microsoft's consumer PC business was under pressure during the pandemic and even before that the retail sales were not great. On the other hand, Microsoft's cloud business and the 365 office suites are doing well.

"Microsoft no longer relies nearly so much on Windows as it used to; the company is truly an intelligent cloud, intelligent edge firm," a Forrester analyst said.

Microsoft launches Premonition

Its hardware and software platform for detecting biological threats.

At its Ignite conference, Microsoft on 22, Sept, 2020 currently announced that Premonition, a robotics and sensor platform for monitoring and specimen disease carriers like mosquitos and a cloud-based software stack for analyzing samples, will soon be in private preview.

The inkling here, as Microsoft describes it, is to set up a system that can basically function as a weather monitoring system, but for disease outbreaks. The company first revealed the project in 2015, but it has come quite a long way since.

Premonition sounds like a handsome wild project, but Microsoft says it’s based on five years of R&D in this area. The company says it is partnering with the National Science Foundation’s  Convergence Accelerator Program and academic partners like Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University,  the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to assessment the tools it’s developing here. In addition, it is also occupied with pharmaceutical giant Bayer to “develop a deeper understanding of vector-borne diseases and the role of autonomous sensor networks for biothreat detection.”

Microsoft launches Premonition with AI

Presently, it seems, focus is on diseases transferred by mosquitos, and Microsoft truly set up a “Premonition Proving Ground” on its Redmond campus to support researchers test their robots, train their machine learning models and analyze the data they collect. In this Arthropod Containment Level 2 facility, the company can raise and analyze mosquitos. But the idea is to go well beyond this and monitor the entire biome.

Machine Learning Robot To Detect Biological Threats (Insects & Mosquitos)

So far, Microsoft says, the Premonition system has scanned more than 80 trillion base-pairs of genomic material for biological threats.

“Everything we prepare now in terms of mosquito treatment is reactive — we realize a lot of mosquitoes, we verve spray a lot of mosquitoes,” said Douglas E. Norris, an entomologist and Johns Hopkins University professor of molecular microbiology and immunology, who was part of this project. “Imagine if you had a predicting system that shows, in a few days you’re going to have a lot of mosquitoes based on all this statistics and these models — then you could go out and extravagance them former before they’re biting, spray, hit them early so you don’t catch those big mosquito blooms which then might result in disease transmission.”

This is, by all means, a precise determined project. Why is Microsoft announcing it now, at its Ignite conference? Unsurprisingly, the entire system relies on the Microsoft Azure cloud to provide the storage and figure power to run — and it’s an agreeable way for Microsoft to show off its AI systems, too.

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