Machine learning just can’t be left out of major tech keynotes and conferences these days. And while Tay continues to be a topic of funny discussions rather than the serious ones it was intended to be, Microsoft is announcing a few updates to its suite of Machine learning tools.

First up, is the rebranding. If you are a developer, and a hard-core one at that, you’d remember Microsoft’s machine tools being tabbed under something called ‘Project Oxford’. well that is changing today, as these tools now come under a new, ‘Microsoft Cognitive Sciences’ division with the old Project Oxford website re-directing us to the Cognitive Sciences one.

However, it isn’t just the re-christening which is happening here.

With cognitive sciences, Microsoft is giving a more clearer picture of its future research in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence. While Project Oxford was mere research and something which the Redmond giant used in its own products (like the massively memed How Old Do You Look? app, which gave all the wrong numbers when asked for ages of people), Cognitive sciences will now actually sell a list of 22 APIs, ready for use by developers to integrate in their apps.

All of the 22 listed APIs are priced. They offer a few free transactions at the beginning, with flat charges post that, on the total number of transactions occurring per month. A few of them, like the Speech API, the Linguistics Analysis API, the Entity linking Intelligence API among others, are either in limited preview or are completely on an invite-only basis. The reason behind such differentiation hasn’t really been explained by Microsoft, though a more common cause seems to be under-development phase of these APIs.

Talking about this new division, Microsoft senior program manager lead Cornelia Carapcea said that while Project Oxford APIs were in preview, now Microsoft is working on allowing developers to customize the new Cognitive Services to meet their own needs.


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