Jun 20, 2018

Microsoft buys company that helps non-experts train AI

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Microsoft announced that it will acquire Bonsai, a Berkeley-based artificial intelligence company that helps non-programmers develop machine-learning tools for industrial applications like manufacturing, heating and cooling systems, and vehicle testing.

Why it matters: Companies in just about every sector are trying to infuse AI into their decision-making — but developing specialized machine learning is difficult and expensive. Services like Bonsai or Google's AutoML could help make it accessible.

What to watch: Microsoft has mounted a major effort to build AI into its software and poured resources into the area. The company said in a blog post announcing the acquisition that Bonsai will help create an "AI toolchain" for creating and running autonomous systems on its Azure Cloud.

Correction: This story originally described Microsoft as "lagging behind its competitors in AI research."

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Special report: Health care workers vs. coronavirus

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, and Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images

Health care workers are at an especially high risk of catching the coronavirus, because of their prolonged exposure to patients who have it. Making matters worse, the U.S. doesn't have enough of the protective equipment, like masks and gloves, that keeps them safe.

  • And yet these workers, with loved ones of their own, keep showing up at hospitals across the country, knowing that more Americans than they can possibly care for are depending on them.
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Backed by the Fed, bond investors get bullish

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed's massive injections of liquidity have reopened much of the bond market, and after back-to-back weeks in which more than $100 billion flowed out of bond funds, investors have regained their bearings and now see opportunity.

What's happening: But after the hemorrhaging outflows relented last week, bulls may now be sticking their heads out a bit too far. Junk bond funds took in more than $7 billion for the week ended April 1, according to Refinitiv Lipper, setting a new weekly record.

What top CEOs fear telling America about the coronavirus shutdown

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Top CEOs, in private conversations and pleas to President Trump, are warning of economic catastrophe if America doesn't begin planning for a phased return to work as soon as May, corporate leaders tell Axios.

Why it matters: The CEOs say massive numbers of companies, big and small, could go under if business and government don't start urgent talks about ways groups of workers can return.