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Microsoft Cognitive Services

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn
This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Microsoft Ignite 2018 conference coverage

Microsoft Cognitive Services are a purpose-built collection of AI algorithms and application programming interfaces (APIs) to help developers add AI capabilities to websites, apps and AI agents.

Cognitive Services allow enterprises lacking the necessary AI research staff, infrastructure and budget to select AI tools for their needs. Users can choose from a library of Microsoft’s AI algorithms for Cognitive Services on Azure, Microsoft's public cloud computing platform.

Like most major cloud service providers, Microsoft has become a cloud-based provider of AI services. Cognitive Services represent one of the largest suites of AI capabilities and includes deep learning capabilities, machine vision and sentiment evaluation.

Most tools included in Cognitive Services are compatible with Microsoft’s natural language understanding (NLU) AI chatbot. Offered as Azure Bot Service, the chatbot is positioned as a tool to take service and reception calls and moderate websites and forums.

Cognitive Services can enhance the abilities of these agents to help with the following:

  • Scale to support growth
  • Make smart recommendations
  • Perform language translation
  • Use machine vision to recognize users from pictures and moderate content

AI services add a lot of capability potential for enterprises that might otherwise be unable to create such services. Like many forms of automation, it may help an enterprise save costs. Similarly, as with many forms of automation, the service may also pose a threat to the jobs of human workers.

This was last updated in July 2018

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