In the more than 10 years that Microsoft NERD has been located at 1 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, we’ve worked with the local community to build great things, connect with our neighbors, and develop a community of our own. Today, NERD is at the forefront of the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence. That’s why we were excited to open our doors this fall to celebrate our latest venture: our brand new Microsoft NERD AI Conference Center.
This space was created for AI technologists and enthusiasts alike to host events, encourage innovation, and get involved in the AI community. We kicked off the celebration with refreshments, networking, and opening remarks from NERD GM Terrell Cox prior to the official ribbon cutting. Cox’s motivating words about Microsoft and the opportunities the new space will bring to both the company and the community set the tone for the rest of the evening.
“This space represents a physical manifestation of Microsoft’s mission: to empower everyone on the planet to achieve more,” she explained to the group of more than 100. “We really believe that AI, or responsible AI, is becoming more and more infused into our experience. It’s helping us distill and understand the world around us … and is helping us improve our society.”
After the ribbon cutting, the group filtered into the brand new AI Conference Center for a keynote speech from Jean Crawford, senior data and applied scientist on our Semantic Machines team. The Semantic Machines team works to pioneer new breakthroughs in conversational artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Crawford discussed the future of tech in conversational AI to a packed room.
“It’s really cool to be working in this space, but as you know, voice assistants don’t get everything right,” she explained. “At Semantic Machines, we’re thinking a bit bigger about what the virtual assistants can do — and we’re trying to get that technology into the lives of as many people as possible.”
Crawford was supported at the event by her fellow Semantic Machines colleagues at Microsoft from across the country. Their work together uses the power of machine learning to enable users to discover, access, and interact with information and services in a much more natural way.
After Crawford’s speech, it was time to explore our interactive makerspace: The Garage. We were excited to partner with She+ Geeks Out to celebrate the opening of our new AI space. This organization plays an integral role in educating, promoting, and supporting diverse and inclusive companies while empowering women in the workplace.
As the night went on, our Garage was filled with sounds of soldering and sights of innovation. Attendees tinkered and explored all of the fun maker tools the space has to offer.
Attendees learned how to use Paint 3D on Windows 10 — seeing different animals, structures, and anything they could dream up come to life with this multidimensional technology. Guests also learned the basics of soldering and created their own classic blinking circuits. The third group had a blast 3D scanning each other to create digital models of their friends.
Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate the opening of our new Microsoft NERD AI Conference Center! We’re excited to work with you all to continue diving into the exciting future of AI and ML — and better understand this technology’s potential to impact peoples’ lives.
Here at NERD, we are committed to developing the next generation of AI technology and AI leaders. Our world-class event space plays host to leaders from around the world — and around the corner — who are furthering this exciting field.