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Microsoft To Acquire AI Training Startup Bonsai

Microsoft made a significant move in the artificial intelligence technology space this week when it announced a deal to acquire Bonsai, a startup focused on creating methods for training AI-driven autonomous systems.

Bonsai, based in Berkeley, Calif., offers a faster way to develop the "brains" needed for robotics and other autonomous systems. The company's novel approach uses machine teaching to abstract the low-level mechanics of machine learning. That makes it easier for subject matter experts to train autonomous systems to accomplish specific tasks, regardless of those experts' AI expertise.

The upshot is that Microsoft can now help partners and customers build machine-learning systems more quickly, particularly in vertical industries such as energy, manufacturing and supply chain management.