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Oracle dives into AI with new apps and services

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Oracle announced a series of new services today that are supposed to help its customers reap the benefits of artificial intelligence across a wide variety of workloads. It’s a move by the company to capitalize on the growing popularity of AI and help motivate its customers to move away from on-premises data centers.

The company will give data scientists a ton of computing power with a new AI Platform Cloud Service. It provides users with a pre-built hardware instance that includes popular machine learning tools like TensorFlow, Keras, Jupyter Notebook, and scikit-learn, which will allow companies to develop machine learning systems in the cloud.

In addition, customers can tap new Adaptive Intelligent apps to gain the benefits of AI for workloads like finance, human resources, supply chain, manufacturing, commerce, customer service, marketing, and sales.

Finally, the company also updated its Mobile Cloud with new capabilities that will help customers develop and deploy chatbots that users can interact with in a variety of different scenarios.

All of these features should help Oracle customers better tap into the rising tide of machine learning capabilities and expertise. In addition, they will help Oracle compute with the likes of Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Amazon, IBM, and others.

The AI Platform Cloud Service is basically designed to be a pre-built workbench for data scientists that is powered by Oracle’s bare metal infrastructure. Customers will be provided with a pair of Nvidia Tesla P100 GPUs for their work, along with a high-power bare metal cloud server with which to run their workloads. In the future, the hardware instance can be upgraded to support up to 8 GPUs based on Nvidia’s Volta architecture.

On the chatbot side, Oracle Mobile Cloud will now let users build bots that integrate with a variety of messaging services including Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Slack. Those same bots can also be deployed to voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant.

Much like other competing bot builders, the Oracle Mobile Cloud has a WYSIWIG editor designed to let people who aren’t machine learning experts tap into capabilities like natural language understanding for creating intelligent experiences. Oracle’s offering stands out with its integration into the company’s other systems, so customers can more easily access their business data.

Oracle is also going after software-as-a-service vendors like Salesforce with its Adaptive Intelligent Apps. Those business applications include intelligent suggestions for salespeople, hiring insights for human resources professionals, and optimized payment terms for procurement officers.

All of those apps are powered by the company’s Data Cloud, a treasure trove of consumer information that Oracle has been quietly building up over time through acquisition and continued mining of user behavior on partner websites.

These announcements are part of the company’s overall machine learning push at its big OpenWorld customer conference this year. Yesterday, Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison unveiled the latest version of its database, which uses machine learning to automate management of tasks that would traditionally be left to a human.

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