Microsoft has put artificial intelligence (AI) at the centre of its Ignite event in Florida, with CEO Satya Nadella declaring that "a little bit of machine learning here and there" is not enough.
In an annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Microsoft abandoned the phrase and stated a new strategic vision, saying: "Our strategic vision is to compete and grow by building best-in-class platforms and productivity services for an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge infused with AI."
Nadella (pictured) confirmed this new approach at Microsoft Ignite, saying that AI needs to become a more integral element of IT.
"It's no longer about deploying one AI system or doing a little bit of machine learning here and there," he said. "It is about, in fact, changing the culture inside our organisations so that we understand very deeply what it means to create these digital feedback loops across all these outcomes.
"These new virtuous cycles between our products, their usage, their creation of data and the business model, that's what we've got to get intuitively.
"In fact even for us at Microsoft, that's the process of transformation we're going through as we change the nature of our products, we change the nature of how we engage with you as our customers and partners."
At Ignite Microsoft introduced a range of AI-driven updates for Dynamic 365, as well as a new set of machine-learning tools for developers working with Microsoft Azure.
Nick McQuire, vice president of enterprise research at CCS Insight, said: "As expected, artificial intelligence was a major theme across the keynote and the technology has emerged as a critical strategic focus for Microsoft.
"Despite the hype and heavy implications around the technology, CEO Satya Nadella continues to reinforce Microsoft's cloud attributes that are helping it establish early leadership in this field. This is emerging as the new battleground for cloud supremacy."
Earlier this week Microsoft announced that university professor Iain Buchan will lead its medical research unit at its Cambridge campus.
Buchan will also join the leadership team of Healthcare NExT - an initiative set up by Microsoft in February to integrate AI and cloud computing into medical research.
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