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SoftBank Group Announces Launch of “Vision Fund 2” with Participation from Tech Giants Like Apple, Microsoft

The objective of the Fund is to facilitate the continued acceleration of the AI revolution through investment

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SoftBank, Apple, Microsoft
The new private investment fund's capital has reached about $108 billion and SoftBank Group's own investment will be $38 billion, the company said in a statement. Pixabay

In a bid to accelerate the development and adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technology, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group on Friday announced the launch of “Vision Fund 2” with participation from tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Foxconn, among others.

The new private investment fund’s capital has reached about $108 billion and SoftBank Group’s own investment will be $38 billion, the company said in a statement.

“The objective of the Fund is to facilitate the continued acceleration of the AI revolution through investment in market-leading, tech-enabled growth companies,’ said SoftBank.

The total expected contribution of capital to the tech megafund und has reached approximately USD 108 billion

SoftBank, Apple, Microsoft
In a bid to accelerate the development and adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technology, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group on Friday announced the launch of “Vision Fund 2”. Pixabay

Other institutions who are expected to participate in the fund are Mizuho Bank, Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, Ltd., Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Limited, Daiwa Securities Group Inc., National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan, Standard Chartered Bank, and major participants from Taiwan.

“The new fund is expected to decrease SoftBank’s reliance on Saudi Arabian investment and also potentially change the relationship between startups, corporate giants like Microsoft and investors,” reports TechCrunch.

In its first $97 billion Vision Fund announced in early 2017, SoftBank invested in companies like Paytm, Oyo Rooms, ride-hailing firms Didi Chuxing and Grab and grocery delivery startup Grofers, among others.

The maiden fund has earned 62 per cent returns to date, SoftBank said last month.

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According to Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Chief Executive, the new fund will benefit from the rising amount of real-world data gathered by sensors, cameras and other machines. (IANS)

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India can Lead in Setting Standards for Ethical use of AI: Microsoft Executive

Microsoft on Friday announced a partnership with the Indian School of Business (ISB) to equip business leaders with tools and strategies to make their organisations AI-driven

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FILE - A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

By Gokul Bhagabati

With the government focusing on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) as people are increasingly adopting digital technologies, India can lead in setting standards for ethical use of AI, a top Microsoft executive said on Friday.

“The real application of AI needs to be to empower human ingenuity and to accelerate innovation for all kinds of work and thinking,” Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, told IANS.

In an earlier interview with IANS on the eve of 73rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the government is trying to leverage technology like AI and ML to improve school education.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden Budget speech in July announced that the government will lay focus on new-age skills like AI, Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality and Robotics.

“About 91 per cent of organisations today plan to leverage AI within the next three years to drive their businesses and the biggest issue they point out for not using it right now is lack of skills,” Maheshwari said.

Artificial Intelligence Bot
Artificial Intelligence Bot. Pixabay

“India is among the top three geographies globally in terms of the supply of skills for AI and that bodes very well for India to lead and contribute significantly in the world of AI,” Maheshwari added.

“We can very much create use cases and the standards for ethical use of AI. I am quite optimistic on the role India will play in the emergence of AI and the principles of AI,” he noted.

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Microsoft on Friday announced a partnership with the Indian School of Business (ISB) to equip business leaders with tools and strategies to make their organisations AI-driven.

“The initiative we are launching today between ISB and Microsoft really addresses not only the issue of creating right awareness around the skill set needed to drive the AI strategies, but also provide the tool sets to create the AI strategies, to create the discussion around what culture is needed inside an organisation to drive AI and also have the awareness of the ethics and principles around it,” Maheshwari emphasised. (IANS)