Microsoft snaps up deep learning startup Lobe to make AI development easier

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Microsoft is acquiring San Francisco-based startup Lobe to help developers easily build, train and ship deep learning and AI (artificial intelligence) models.

Lobe provides a simple visual interface that allows users to build custom deep learning models, train them, and ship them directly to applications without writing any code.

Dee learning is a subset of machine learning which is used to build artificial neural networks. The technology has numerous applications, such as driverless cars. It teaches the cars to recognize the traffic signals or to differentiate between a lamppost and a pedestrian.

Although the deep learning technology has made a good progress over the last few years, but Microsoft said that the development process of deep leaning systems is still complex and slow.

“In many ways though, we’re only just beginning to tap into the full potential AI can provide. This in large part is because AI development and building deep learning models are slow and complex processes even for experienced data scientists and developers,” wrote Kevin Scott, Executive VP and CTO, Microsoft, in a blog post.

“To date, many people have been at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing AI, and we’re committed to changing that.”

Lobe and Microsoft aim to make the AI development easier. With Lobe AI platform, users will only need to drag in a folder of training examples from their desktop. Lobe will automatically build the custom deep learning model and initiate the training. When the process finishes, users can export the trained models and ship them directly to apps.

Lobe Team at Microsoft

Microsoft has been working on making the AI development easier for everyone over the last few years. The tech giant snapped up conversational AI startup Semantic Machines in May, and then acquired Bonsai in June to bolster its vision of making AI accessible to all.

Also read: Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Services is now Azure DevOps

“We look forward to continuing the great work by Lobe in putting AI development into the hands of non-engineers and non-experts.  We’re thrilled to have Lobe join Microsoft and are excited about our future together to simplify AI development for everyone,” added Scott.

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