Jul 13, 2017

Microsoft jumps into AI contest against Google

CEO Satya Nadella (AP/Rafiq Maqbool

The contest for more sophisticated artificial intelligence systems has hotted up with an announcement of a big new lab — Microsoft Research AI, in which the software behemoth will employ more than 100 scientists to study how a single system of AI can tackle a wide range of jobs, rather than a single task, per Bloomberg. The new lab will partner with MIT, Microsoft said.

One of the new lab's initiatives is called AI for Earth, which will offer tools to environmentalists working on problems including climate and water shortages, Wired reports. As we've reported, Microsoft already was using its software to track pollution in places like Chesapeake Bay.

Why it matters: Microsoft is stepping up an already-fiercely competitive race toward smarter machines against Alphabet and Elon Musk's OpenAI.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 1,536,979 — Total deaths: 93,425 — Total recoveries: 346,376Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 451,491 — Total deaths: 15,938 — Total recoveries: 24,790Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  5. World latest: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
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Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

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The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.

Reports: Saudi Arabia and Russia reach major deal to cut oil production

Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

OPEC+, led by mega-producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, reached a tentative agreement Thursday to impose large cuts in oil production as the coronavirus pandemic fuels an unprecedented collapse in demand, per Bloomberg and Reuters.

Why it matters: The revival of the OPEC+ collaboration patches up the early March rupture between the countries, which had pushed already depressed prices down much further by threatening to unleash even more new supplies into the saturated market.