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Microsoft to offer cloud services to Indian start-ups

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Bengaluru: Microsoft will offer free its Azure cloud services to start-ups in India for speeding up the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India, the global software major said on Tuesday.

“Our Azure cloud services, valued at $120,000 will be given free to qualified start-ups under the ‘BizSpark plus programme’ for building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country,” the company’s Indian subsidiary said in a statement here.

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Cloud services
such as software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service are provided by vendors over the internet to enterprises across verticals to drive their businesses.

“Startups need all the help they can to get access to the right tools, technology and guidance. At Microsoft, we are committed to supporting these startups and through the BizSpark Plus program we want to support India’s upcoming entrepreneurs,” said Microsoft Ventures India director Rajinish Menon.

Qualifying startups must be privately held, below five years old with sub $1 million revenue annually and be a member of select accelerator or venture capital firm, Microsoft added in the statement.

Microsoft BizSpark is a worldwide programme which gives wings to startup dreams by offering free Microsoft software development tools, connecting startups with key industry players, investors and giving marketing visibility.

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Image Source: blogs.technet.com


Startups will also receive the full suite of development and test software and Visual Studio, Windows and Office tools in this latest offering, Microsoft added.

In India, Microsoft is partnering 13 startup accelerators to roll-out the offering. They include 91Springboard, Reliance GenNext, Zone Startups, Pitney Bowes and others.

“The BizSpark Plus programme is a unique opportunity for startups who want to leverage the power of the Cloud and give a boost to their product development lifecycle,” the statement quoted 91Springboard partner Pranay Gupta as saying.

Internationally, Microsoft partners 150 startup accelerators in 47 countries.

Microsoft is also participating in the ‘Digital India’ programme initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by organising hackathons in 17 college campuses across India targeting 4,000 students, the statement added. (IANS)

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Microsoft Says Building Tool to Spot Bias in AI Algorithms

The issue of bias will become crucial as more customers make use of these algorithms to take important decisions

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Microsoft Says Building Tool to Spot Bias in AI Algorithms
Microsoft Says Building Tool to Spot Bias in AI Algorithms. Pixabay

After Facebook announced its own tool to detect bias in an algorithm earlier this month, a new report suggests that Microsoft is also building a tool to automate the identification of bias in a range of different Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms.

The Microsoft tool has the potential to help businesses make use of AI without inadvertently discriminating against certain groups of people, MIT Technology Review reported on Friday.

Representational image (AI)
Representational image (AI). Pixabay

Although Microsoft’s new tool may not eliminate the problem of bias that may creep into Machine-Learning models altogether, it will help AI researchers catch more instances of unfairness, Rich Caruna, a senior researcher at Microsoft who is working on the bias-detection dashboard, was quoted as saying.

“Of course, we can’t expect perfection — there’s always going to be some bias undetected or that can’t be eliminated — the goal is to do as well as we can,” he said.

Also Read: Microsoft Also Has an AI Bot That Makes Phone Calls to Humans

The issue of bias will become crucial as more customers make use of these algorithms to take important decisions.

At its annual developer conference on May 2, Facebook announced its own bias-catching tool, called Fairness Flow, as the social network has found that the number of people using AI to make important decisions is increasing at the company. (IANS)

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