Microsoft is giving its AI ambitions a boost with its latest acquisition, Montreal-based startup Maluuba. Focused on deep learning research, Maluuba has been working in the realm of natural language understanding, deep learning and reinforcement learning to ultimately move towards AI that "can think, reason and communicate like humans," Microsoft says.

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Microsoft's Harry Shum lays out a potential future for Maluuba's technology:

Imagine a future where, instead of frantically searching through your organization's directory, documents or emails to find the top tax-law experts in your company, for example, you could communicate with an AI agent that would leverage Maluuba's machine comprehension capabilities to immediately respond to your request. The agent would be able to answer your question in a company security-compliant manner by having a deeper understanding of the contents of your organization's documents and emails, instead of simply retrieving a document by keyword matching, which happens today. This is just one of hundreds of scenarios we could imagine as Maluuba pushes the state-of-the-art technology of machine literacy.

Microsoft notes that Maluuba co-founders Kaheer Suleman and Sam Pasupalak will be joining its Artificial Intelligence Research organization as part of the deal. Meanwhile, Yoshua Bengio, who is an advisor to Maluuba and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, will begin advising Microsoft in its AI efforts.

AI's, Bots and Canvases Part IV: The war is on! Microsoft is not alone