2023 is the year of "Generative AI"!! Many companies including Microsoft are all-in in crafting new platforms, services, solutions, offers hoping it is the next big "growth engine" for years to come. Specifically, for Microsoft there is a tsunami of new innovations hitting the market and not just from the "Microsoft" brand either. To get a complete grasp of Microsoft's current AI strategy and upcoming innovations with Generative AI for early 2024, consider consuming the content from the conferences listed below. In these conferences, Microsoft either owns or co-owns AI intellectual property. Also, AI was either the main theme or a sub-theme in these four recent conferences:
- OpenAI DevDay 2023 – November 6th, 2023
- GitHub Universe 2023 – November 8th – 9th 2023
- Microsoft Ignite 2023 – November 14th – 17th 2023
- .NET Conf 2023 – November 14th – 16th 2023
OpenAI DevDay 2023 was a developer conference hosted by OpenAI on November 6, 2023, in San Francisco. OpenAI is a separate company from Microsoft, however Microsoft does own a significant stake in the "for profit" component of OpenAI. Therefore, the innovations and advancements announced from OpenAI usually will make it to Microsoft Azure. So, this conference is an excellent event to gauge what is coming to Microsoft Azure AI in the next few weeks/months.
A full summary of announcements from OpenAI: https://openai.com/blog/new-models-and-developer-products-announced-at-devday
Some of the major announcements made at the event were:
- GPT-4 Turbo : A more capable and affordable version of GPT-4 that supports a larger context window and has knowledge of world events up to April 2023.
- Assistants API : A new API that allows developers to build agent-like experiences that can retrieve outside knowledge or call programming functions.
- Custom GPTs and the GPT Store : A new feature that lets users create their own versions of GPT for different use cases and publish them to a store with revenue sharing.
- Custom Models : A new service that offers fine-grain control over AI behavior and allows users to train their own models on top of OpenAI's knowledge base.
- DALL-E 3 API : A new API that enables access to the text-to-image model DALL-E 3 with built-in moderation tools.
GitHub is a cloud-based company with services tailoring to software developers. Like LinkedIn, GitHub is owned by Microsoft (100%), but it operates separately under the GitHub brand. GitHub Universe 2023 took place, which primarily focused on new AI products & services. This conference is particularly interesting to developer personas interested in AI innovations with Microsoft.
GitHub Universe 2023 summary & key takeaways: Universe's key takeaway: Innovate better with AI-powered workflows on a single, unified platform - The GitHub Blog
Here is a summary of the GitHub 2023 Universe Conference, focusing on AI and developer productivity:
- GitHub announced the general availability of GitHub Copilot Chat , a natural language interface that allows developers to write and understand code using their own language. Copilot Chat is powered by OpenAI's GPT-4 model and can generate code, explain concepts, detect vulnerabilities, and help debug code.
- GitHub also introduced previews of GitHub Copilot Enterprise , a new offering that enables organizations to customize and train their own Copilot models using their own data and codebases.
- GitHub launched the GitHub Copilot Partner Program , a network of partners that provide integrations and support for Copilot across various languages, frameworks, and platforms.
- GitHub unveiled new AI-powered security features , such as Copilot Security Advisor, which scans code for potential security issues and suggests fixes, and Copilot Vulnerability Detector, which alerts developers of known vulnerabilities in their dependencies.
- GitHub shared the latest Open-Source Trends Report , which revealed the growth and impact of open source and generative AI projects on GitHub. The report showed that generative AI projects increased by 253% in 2023, and that more developers are using pre-trained AI models in their workflows.
Microsoft Ignite 2023 was a four-day event that showcased the latest innovations and advancements in AI, data, and cloud technologies. For a complete list of everything that Microsoft announced, please review the Ignite 2023 Book of News which includes areas to drill into: videos, blog posts, demos etc.: https://news.microsoft.com/ignite-2023-book-of-news/
Recorded keynotes & breakouts are available on Microsoft's Ignite channel (also some sessions can be found on YouTube): Session catalog (microsoft.com)
Below are some of the main ignite highlights related to AI:
- Microsoft announced its first AI chip, code-named Athena, which is designed to compete with Nvidia's GPUs for AI acceleration in data centers. The chip will power cloud-based AI workloads such as OpenAI models, Bing, GitHub Copilot, and ChatGPT.
- Microsoft expanded its partnerships with AMD and NVIDIA to provide more AI infrastructure options for customers.
- Microsoft launched Windows AI Studio, a toolkit that brings together AI tools and a catalog of generative AI models that developers can fine-tune, customize, and deploy for local, offline use in their Windows apps.
- Microsoft updated its Azure AI, data, and application services to help customers turn their AI ambitions into reality. These include modern data solutions, beloved developer tools, and a suite of application services that can run any language, any platform, and at enterprise-grade quality.
- Microsoft showcased how Copilot for Microsoft 365, an AI-driven assistant, can reduce digital debt and increase productivity for users. Copilot can help users search, write, summarize, catch up on missed meetings, and more.
.NETConf 2023 was a three-day virtual developer event that focused on the release of .NET 8, the latest version of the .NET platform offered with long-term support. The conference featured sessions on various topics related to .NET development, with a special emphasis on performance, AI, machine learning, and general development features in .NET 8.
All the sessions were recorded and available to watch on the "DotNet" YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@dotnet/videos
Some of the highlights of the conference were:
- Performance : .NET 8 has seen many improvements in performance across the entire stack, such as faster startup, lower memory usage, better code generation, and more. In fact, over 1,500 commits have been made to make .NET 8 the fastest .NET. Obviously, you will want these new AI applications to perform as optimized they can be! To highlight one AI specific example .NET 8 includes CPU accelerations to perform vector math much faster. The conference showcased some of the benchmarks and best practices for optimizing .NET applications for performance.
- AI and Machine Learning : .NET 8 introduces several new features and enhancements for building intelligent applications with AI and machine learning, such as ChatGPT integration, Stable Diffusion support, prompt engineering, custom GPTs, and more. The Semantic Kernel library is close to v1.0 release and Machine Learning v3.0 was released as well. The conference demonstrated how to use these features with the Azure OpenAI service, ML.NET, and ONNX Runtime.
- General Development Features : .NET 8 also brings many new and improved features for general development, such as C# 10, F# 6, Visual Studio 2022, .NET MAUI, Blazor Full Stack, Copilot and more. The conference explored how to use these features to create modern, cross-platform, and full-stack applications with .NET.