Tag Archive | "Microsoft"

Microsoft Vows to Abide by California Privacy Laws Throughout the U.S.

Privacy has become the new tech battleground, with companies like Google and Facebook seeking to profit from user data, while Apple and Microsoft have consistently come in on the side of protecting user privacy. Now, Microsoft has taken it a step further, embracing the most comprehensive set of privacy laws in the United States.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. CCPA is designed to protect user privacy and give individuals more control over how their data is used by corporations. The law requires companies to be transparent about the data they collect, how it’s used and give people the ability to prevent companies from selling their personal information. Microsoft makes it clear in a recent blog post that they are strong supporters of this approach.

“We are strong supporters of California’s new law and the expansion of privacy protections in the United States that it represents. Our approach to privacy starts with the belief that privacy is a fundamental human right and includes our commitment to provide robust protection for every individual. This is why, in 2018, we were the first company to voluntarily extend the core data privacy rights included in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to customers around the world, not just to those in the EU who are covered by the regulation. Similarly, we will extend CCPA’s core rights for people to control their data to all our customers in the U.S.

“We continue to put these principles into practice every day through ongoing investments in tools that give people greater control over their personal information. More than 25 million people around the world – including over 10 million people in the U.S. – have used our privacy dashboard to understand and control their personal data. By being transparent about the data we collect and how we use it, and by providing solutions that empower businesses to safeguard personal data and comply with privacy laws, we can demonstrate our commitment in the absence of Congressional action.”

Microsoft is also committed to helping other companies abide by CCPA.

“In addition, we are working closely with our enterprise customers to help them comply with CCPA. Our goal is to help our customers understand how California’s new law affects their operations and provide the tools and guidance they will need to meet its requirements.”

Hopefully, Microsoft’s example will encourage other companies to take a stronger stance on protecting consumer privacy.

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Microsoft Advertising will also deprecate accelerated delivery

The option to have ads delivered as early and often as possible will go away next month.



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OpenAI Working With Microsoft To Build AI That Will Change The World

“We’re working together with Microsoft to build next-generation supercomputers,” says OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman. “The real goal of OpenAI and what we’re trying to accomplish is to build what we call artificial general intelligence. They’re trying to build a computer system that is as capable as a human at being able to master a domain of study and being able to master more fields of study than any one human can. We think whoever builds artificial general intelligence will be the number one most valuable company in the world by a huge margin.”

Greg Brockman, OpenAI co-founder and chairman, discusses Microsoft’s $ 1 billion investment in OpenAI and how whoever invents artificial general intelligence first will become the most valuable company in the world. Brockman was interviewed by Bloomberg Technology: 

OpenAI Working With Microsoft To Build AI That Will Change The World

We’re working together with Microsoft to build next-generation supercomputers. The real goal of OpenAI and what we’re trying to accomplish is to build what we call artificial general intelligence. They’re trying to build a computer system that is as capable as a human at being able to master a domain of study and being able to master more fields of study than any one human can. If we succeed the kind of thing that we want to be able to do is, for example, build a computer system that can solve medicine better than humans can. If you think about how humans solve medicine today we do it by increased specialization. 

I have a friend who’s going through medical procedures right now where he talks to a first doctor who does an ultrasound but can’t read it so he has to go to a different doctor who doesn’t really have context as to what’s going on. This is not a problem that we can solve by increasing the amount of knowledge that humans have to learn. There’s only so much we can fit in our minds. What we really need are tools that are capable of helping us solve these problems. That’s the kind of thing that we want to apply general intelligence to. 

Our goal is to distribute the economic benefits of artificial general intelligence. You can imagine a general intelligence system that can generate huge amounts of value. If you look at the top ten most valuable companies in the world, seven of them are technology companies. We think whoever builds artificial general intelligence will be the number one by a huge margin. It’s really important that those benefits go to everyone rather than being locked up in one place.

Building Powerful Safe and Secure AI Technology 

There’s a second part which is it’s really important that you keep these systems safe and secure and that you build them with ethics in the forefront. That’s something that both we and Microsoft are very aligned on doing from the beginning. What it really boils down to is that AI technology is becoming very powerful. That means that there’s both these amazing benefits and these amazing applications. Imagine a personalized tutor that can really understand you that is available for free to every person on the planet. That’s the kind of thing we should be able to build with the kind of systems that we want to create. 

You also have to ask the questions of what are the risks. How can they be misused? Today, we already see AI technology, for example, deepfakes, that already has bad implications in the world. How do we maximize those benefits and mitigate the downsides? That’s our goal. Our goal is to push the technology forward and make sure that we’re capturing those benefits while making sure everyone benefits from them. But we also want to make sure that we keep it safe and secure to mitigate the downsides.

AI Computational Power Growing 5 Times Faster Than Moore’s Law

The timelines (of where AI will take us) are always really hard to predict. One story I really like thinking about is just looking, for example, at previous technological innovations. In 1878, Thomas Edison announced that he was going to create the incandescent lamp and gas securities in England fell. So British Parliament put together a commission of distinguished experts who came out to Menlo Park. They checked everything out. They said this isn’t going to work and one year later he shipped. I think that we’re in a similar sort of place here where it’s hard to predict what the future will be like. 

We’re in this exponential right now where the computational power that we’re using is growing five times faster than Moore’s Law. What we do know is every year we’re going to have unprecedented AI technologies. We’ve been doing that for seven years and OpenAI has been doing it for three. This year we have systems that can understand and generate text. I think five years from now we should expect that we will have systems that you can really have meaningful conversations with. I think that we should see within a bunch of different domains, a lot of systems that can work with humans to augment what they can do much further than anything we can imagine today.

OpenAI Working With Microsoft To Build AI That Will Change The World – OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman

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Microsoft Advertising rolling out experiments A/B testing tool globally

Here’s what you need to know to get started with Microsoft Advertising experiments.



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It Doesn’t Really Matter What Microsoft Does, Says Slack CEO

“Whatever Microsoft does we’re still going to do the same thing that we would do for customers,” says Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield. “If the performance of our applications, like the number of milliseconds it takes to startup, is an important thing for customers, we will do that. If shared channels are an important feature we will develop shared channels. It doesn’t really matter what Microsoft does. We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it.”

Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, discusses the potential impact of competition with Microsoft in an interview by FORTUNE at Brainstorm Tech 2019:

It Doesn’t Really Matter What Microsoft Does

First, Microsoft is an incredible company. I’m a big admirer. They also have been a great partner for us. There are 500,000 active developers on the Slack platform and Microsoft would like them using Azure. Azure has also been a great partner. We just launched Office 365 calendar integration and a bunch of other stuff. So they’re big enough that they end up working with and competing with all kinds of people around the world. We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it (Microsoft competition with Slack). 

Whatever Microsoft does we’re still going to do the same thing that we would do for customers. If the performance of our applications, like the number of milliseconds it takes to startup, is an important thing for customers, we will do that. If shared channels are an important feature we will develop shared channels. It doesn’t really matter what Microsoft does. But having said that I think the emphasis has been a little bit different. Our emphasis has been really broadly on interoperability because we would like to be the two percent of your software budget that’s a multiplier on the value of the other 98 percent. 

There are 1,600 apps in the app directory but there are also 450,000 different applications developed internally by our customers that are actively used every week on the Slack platform. That can be things like notifications flowing in or workflow approvals or purchase orders. It’s really varied from teams in finance, legal, engineering, sales, and customer support. That activity is really important to us and is where we see Slack going.

Size Doesn’t Matter, Real Traction With Customers Does

Five years (from when Microsoft was still in Albuquerque) they kind of pulled the rug out from under IBM which was at the time the biggest, most powerful, and most valuable company in the world. Go forward about 17 years and this one is kind of mind-blowing. Microsoft has a 95 percent share of operating systems with Windows. It has 90 plus percent share of internet browsers with Internet Explorer. It bought Hotmail, had MSN, and had probably the biggest engineering presence for stuff online.

It literally controlled almost all of humanity’s access to the Internet and they saw this little company in Mountain View starting to make a real business around search. Over the next couple of decades, tens of billions of dollars into that, and their (Bing) market share is now 9 percent or something like that. 

You might think that’s special because the people at Google are real geniuses. But the same thing happened six or seven years later. In 2007, Google sees Facebook where people are spending a lot of time on social networks and that might be a good medium for advertising as well. If you wanted to comment on a video on YouTube you had to use Google Plus. I think the only time that Google ever promoted anything on its home page it was Google Plus. It was also promoted in Gmail and it didn’t matter. The fact that they had a thousand times more engineers and a thousand times more resources (didn’t matter). 

They had access to maybe over a billion users even by that point and it just didn’t make a difference. The lesson that we take from that is that a smaller company, if it has real traction with customers, in some cases, has a bit of an advantage against a large incumbent with multiple lines of business. This is like the first 40 or 50 pages of The Innovators Dilemma. There are plenty of companies that have been crushed as well. I think that it’s hard to maintain a real focus on quality and on user experience and the bigger you get the harder it is. 

If the competition was based on the quality of user experience and that’s where all the effort is that would be probably more daunting for us. If it’s based on their bigger distribution I don’t think that’s really a threat.

It Doesn’t Really Matter What Microsoft Does, Says Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield

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Ad customizers are now available in all Microsoft Advertising accounts

Create ad customizer feeds in the UI or import them from your Google account.



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Microsoft Advertising says it’s keeping average position reporting

Position-based impression share metrics are now available.



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Parallel tracking, more custom parameters coming to Microsoft Advertising for improved tracking

Parallel tracking, currently in beta, will be rolling out soon.



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Price extensions now supported in Microsoft Advertising Editor

Create and manage price extensions in bulk.



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Microsoft goes open source with one of its Bing algorithms

Microsoft’s Space Partition Tree and Graph algorithm enables developers to apply vector search to traditional, audio and visual queries.



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