Microsoft Azure AI gains new LLMs, governance features

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Microsoft at this time at its annual Construct convention launched a number of updates to Azure AI, the corporate’s cloud-based platform for constructing and working AI purposes. Azure AI competes with related choices from rival cloud suppliers similar to AWS, Google, and IBM.

The updates embody the addition of recent governance options, new massive language fashions (LLMs), and Azure AI Search enhancements. Microsoft additionally introduced that it’s making Azure AI Studio typically out there.

Azure AI Studio, a generative AI software growth toolkit that competes with the likes of Amazon Bedrock and Google Vertex AI Studio, was launched in a preview in November of final yr.

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In distinction to Microsoft’s Copilot Studio providing, which is a low-code instrument for customizing chatbots, Azure AI Studio is aimed toward skilled builders, permitting them to decide on generative AI fashions and floor them with retrieval augmented technology (RAG) utilizing vector embeddings, vector search, and their very own information sources.

Azure AI Studio will also be used to fine-tune fashions and create AI-powered copilots or brokers.

New fashions added to Azure AI

As a part of the updates to Azure AI, Microsoft is including new fashions to the mannequin catalog inside Azure AI Studio, bringing the variety of fashions out there to greater than 1,600.

The brand new fashions embody OpenAI’s GPT-4o, showcased this week. Earlier in Could, Microsoft enabled GPT-4 Turbo with Imaginative and prescient by means of Azure OpenAI Service. “With these new fashions builders can construct apps with inputs and outputs that span throughout textual content, photographs, and extra,” the corporate mentioned in a press release.

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Different fashions which have been added by way of Azure AI’s Fashions-as-a-Service (MaaS) providing embody TimeGen-1 from Nixtla and Core42 JAIS, which are actually out there in preview. Fashions from AI21, Bria AI, Gretel Labs, NTT Knowledge, Stability AI, and Cohere Rerank are anticipated to be added quickly, Microsoft mentioned.

Additional, Microsoft is updating its Phi-3 household of small language fashions (SLMs) with the addition of Phi-3-vision, a brand new multimodal mannequin that’s anticipated to change into out there in preview.

In April, Microsoft had launched three Phi-3 fashions—the three.8-billion-parameter Phi-3 Mini, the 7-billion-parameter Phi-3 Small, and the 14-billion-parameter Phi-3 Medium—to assist resource-constrained environments for on-device, edge, and offline inferencing and be cheaper for enterprises.

Microsoft’s Phi-3 builds on Phi-2, which might perceive 2.7 billion parameters whereas outperforming massive language fashions as much as 25 occasions bigger, Microsoft mentioned on the time of the launch. Phi-3 Mini is presently typically out there as a part of Azure AI’s Fashions-as-a-Service providing.

Different modules of Azure AI have been additionally up to date, together with Azure AI Speech, which now consists of options similar to speech analytics and common translation to assist builders construct purposes to be used circumstances requiring audio enter and output. The brand new options can be found in preview.

Again in April, Microsoft had up to date its Azure AI Search service to extend storage capability and vector index dimension at no extra value, a transfer it mentioned will make it extra economical for enterprises to run generative AI-based purposes.

Azure AI will get new governance, security options

At Construct 2024 Microsoft additionally launched new governance and security options for Azure AI, with the corporate updating its mannequin output monitoring system, Azure AI Content material Security.

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The brand new characteristic, named Customized Classes, is presently in preview and can enable builders to create customized filters for particular content material filtering wants. “This new characteristic additionally features a speedy choice, enabling you to deploy new customized filters inside an hour to guard towards rising threats and incidents,” Microsoft mentioned.

Different governance options added to Azure AI Studio and Azure OpenAI Service embody Immediate Shields and Groundedness Detection, each of that are in preview.

Whereas Immediate Shields mitigate each oblique and jailbreak immediate injection assaults on LLMs, Groundedness Detection checks generative AI purposes for ungrounded outputs or hallucinations in generated responses.

Microsoft mentioned that it presently has 20 accountable AI instruments with greater than 90 options throughout its choices and providers.

As a way to safe generative AI purposes, Microsoft mentioned that it was integrating Microsoft Defender for Cloud throughout all of its AI providers. “Menace safety for AI workloads in Defender for Cloud leverages a local integration with Azure AI Content material Security to allow safety groups to watch their Azure OpenAl purposes for direct and in-direct immediate injection assaults, delicate information leaks, and different threats to allow them to rapidly examine and reply,” the corporate mentioned.

As a way to bear down on safety additional, enterprise builders can even combine Microsoft Purview into their developed purposes and copilots with the assistance of APIs, in line with Jessica Hawk, company vice chairman of knowledge, AI, and digital purposes at Microsoft.

This may assist builders and copilot clients to find information dangers in AI interactions, shield delicate information with encryption, and govern AI actions, Hawk added.

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These capabilities can be found for Copilot Studio in public preview and will likely be out there in public preview for Azure AI Studio in July by way of the Purview SDK.

Different safety updates embody integration of what Microsoft calls “hidden layers safety scanning” into Azure AI Studio to scan each mannequin for malware.

One other characteristic, known as Facial Liveness, has been added to the Azure AI Imaginative and prescient Face API. “Home windows Hiya for Enterprise makes use of Facial Liveness as a key ingredient in multi-factor authentication (MFA) to forestall spoofing assaults,” Hawk defined.

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