Microsoft launches Project Cortex, a new knowledge management service

Microsoft has today announced the launch of Project Cortex, a Microsoft 365 service that uses advanced AI to automatically classify an organisation’s data, at its annual Ignite IT conference in Orlando, Florida.

With Project Cortex, Microsoft is attempting to redefine the dated category of Knowledge Management by using its AI to reason over a company’s content and project activity to create a network repository in an organisation that is based on topics and knowledge of particular subjects.

“Project Cortex builds on intelligence from the Microsoft Graph, a variety of Microsoft AI technologies, and the leading content services of SharePoint, which recently surpassed 100 million monthly active commercial users as part of Microsoft 365,” said Seth Patton, general manager at Microsoft. “Cortex also lets you connect to external systems and repositories; use advanced AI to automate content capture, categorisation, and management; and protect information with intelligent security and compliance.”

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Scheduled for general availability in the first half of 2020, this is Microsoft’s first commercial service since the launch of Teams in 2017.

“Whilst Microsoft’s ambition is to be admired with the solution, its success will be determined by how firms can overcome some of the privacy hurdles a service of this depth, based on machine learning, inevitably creates. Especially in countries such as Germany, for example, which have strict privacy requirements and laws against employee tracking,” said Nick McQuire, VP and head of enterprise and artificial intelligence research, CCS Insight.

He added: “According to our latest CIO surveys, privacy fears around AI are mounting as well. The ability of AI systems to ensure data privacy is now top priorities for investment in machine learning, cited by close to 50% of respondents. Additionally, in our employee technology survey fielded this year, fear of privacy compromise is one of the top barriers to adopting AI in the workplace according to employees.”

“When Project Cortex launches next year, we expect a big element of it to be how organisations can also address privacy needs and manage more rigorous requirements in this area with the service.”

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future

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