The year 2016 represents a milestone of sorts for Microsoft’s research arm. It marks the 25th year since its founding in 1991 by Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold, the latter convinced his boss stating that the objective of the research arm is “to invest in our future by doing more work in research and technology creation.”
Some Microsoft Research projects are purely academic, looking to advance science rather than the company’s bottom line. Others, such as Kinect, are made into real-life products that consumers will use. As we turn the page on a year when we’ve entered what Microsoft Research NExT corporate vice president Peter Lee calls “a new Golden Age of technological advancement,” we thought it would be instructive to get a sense for what lies ahead.
In a blog post by Microsoft, the leaders bring out some of the most fascinating predictions that not only catch imagination, but something to feel excited as we move ahead. Here are some of the most interesting predictions to look forward to.
1) Depth Camera Technology
Chris Bishop, Managing Director of Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK says that in 2016 we will see advancements in silicon architectures leading to more powerful graphics processing units. Also, Chris feels that mobile phones will see new applications of depth camera technology.
2) Cloud Acceleration
Doug Burger, Director of Hardware, Devices, and Experiences, Microsoft Research NExT, has good news for cloud infrastructure followers as according to him cloud infrastructure will get boost with the large-scale inclusion of specialized computation acceleration, which will enable large gains in big data workloads, bioinformatics, high-performance computing and many other important verticals.
3) Shift towards Human Experience
Fifty-seven years after the first lightpen, 53 years after the first stylus-driven graphics tablet, 27 years after the first stylus-driven slate computer and 14 years after Microsoft launched the Tablet PC, stylus-based drawing, annotation and note-taking will assume a broadly supported and appropriate place in the mosaic of how we interact with digital devices, says Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research says that focus of the technology will shift towards providing enhanced human experience, values and potential.
4) Assistants to talk and help
Lili Cheng, Distinguished Engineer & General Manager, Microsoft Research NExT, looks to be fascinated by Cortana and predicts that the year 2016 will see digital assistants playing a bigger role in online conversations, helping humans to be much more productive. Lili says that job stations would eventually turn into virtual places from their present physical state.
5) Data ethics program
Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research says that every data science program will have a data ethics curriculum, giving greater understanding the human implications of large-scale data collection and experimentation. “We begin to build due process protections inside big data systems that influence health care, housing and employment decisions,” she said.
6) Artificial Intelligence to thrive
Li Deng, Partner Research Manager, Microsoft Research NExT, says that with greater research on deep learning methods and state-of-the-art machine translation AI will play a major role in one’s daily life. According to him, “Deep learning is making inroads into business applications including predictive analytics, which will excite new interest in deep learning technology beyond its commonly accepted successes in speech, image and natural language processing.”
7) Technology empowering patients’ lives
Jasmin Fisher, Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK, says that the year 2016 will see the usage of innovative interdisciplinary technologies helping patients with complicated diseases live longer than before. “Cloud platform technologies will start realising their true potential to transform and empower patients’ lives,” she says.
8) New systems immune to hacking
“We will see the start of a new generation of systems solutions that guarantee security even if the operating system or other infrastructure gets compromised by hackers,” says Sriram Rajamani, Assistant Managing Director, Microsoft Research India, foresee that 2016 will see the start of a new generation of systems solutions that guarantee security even if the operating system or other infrastructure gets compromised by hackers.