Log in
E-mail
Password
Remember
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
Settings
Settings
Dynamic quotes 
OFFON

MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Nasdaq  >  Microsoft Corporation    MSFT

MICROSOFT CORPORATION

(MSFT)
My previous session
Most popular
  Report  
SummaryQuotesChartsNewsRatingsCalendarCompanyFinancialsConsensusRevisions 
News SummaryMost relevantAll newsOfficial PublicationsSector newsMarketScreener StrategiesAnalyst Recommendations
The feature you requested does not exist. However, we suggest the following feature:

Microsoft : Is Japan's ancient Ashura Buddha statue happy or sad? AI tries to find out

share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
0
02/19/2019 | 09:59am EST

For centuries, the three faces of the Ashura Buddha have looked out from inside the Kofukuji Temple in the ancient Japanese city of Nara. But when devotees and scholars gaze back, what do they see? Or, at least, what do they think they see?

Long and thin with six arms and three heads, the 1,200-year-old masterpiece is both revered as an object of faith and admired as a work of art. It's even been officially classified as a national treasure. But just as people in the West have long wondered about the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, Ashura's subtle facial expressions have puzzled people in Japan.

Now researchers have a new way of understanding it and other precious Buddhist statues. By using artificial intelligence (AI) tools, they are unraveling some artistic mysteries.

Take, for instance, the question of whether Ashura is happy or sad. As it turns out, that depends on how you look at the statue. From the right, it appears sadder, and from the left, happier. Also, Ashura's appearance is that of a 23-year-old, says Professor Syun'ichi Sekine, of Nara University's Department of Cultural Properties.

For much of last year, Sekine and a team of 18 students analyzed photographic images of more than 200 ancient Buddhist statues, including Ashura, with Azure Cognitive Services' Face API - an AI tool that is increasingly being used in advertising and entertainment, as well for chatbots.

For the Nara University project, a pre-trained AI system recognized eight types of human expressions: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, neutral, sadness, and surprise.

With this capability, the researchers were able to sidestep the subjective interpretations of believers and others made over generations and establish what the artists were really trying to convey when they created the statues.

'These Buddhist statues are objects of religious belief. So many Japanese people see different facial expressions according to the mental or emotional state of each worshiper,' Sekine explains.

'We wanted to look at how the statues came to be shaped by their sculptors before they were enshrined in religious surroundings as objects of worship. In other words, we wanted to figure out what the sculptors used as models - the kind of human expressions they used.'

Traditionally, Buddhist statues are not supposed to portray age or emotion, and, except for guardian deities, they are not supposed to have genders. 'Their makers were sometimes explicitly told to avoid giving their works any human facial expression or emotional content… embodying the view of Buddha as definitely not being human,' Sekine explains.

According to tradition and belief, the more 'indifferent' the face of a Buddha statue looks, the more 'perfect' it is. Despite this, scholars believe that the sculptors were often influenced by the tastes and styles of their times as well as the wishes of those who commissioned the statues. For example, joyous expressions were fashionable in one period while angry expressions were favored in another.

As they strove for academic objectivity, the Nara University team were well aware of the sensitivities surrounding their project. It was one reason why they chose AI as a research tool.

'Studying this sort of art sometimes requires researchers to judge religious idols. That might mean crossing a line that many believe should not be crossed,' Sekine says. 'If people believe it is imprudent for human beings to judge Buddha, then maybe entrusting the process to AI is a way of objectifying such judgments, making them 'inorganic.''

The aim of the project was 'to provide people with a means for reaffirming the beauty of Buddhism.' And, Sekine believes that new digital technologies will be increasingly used in cultural research.

'Initiatives that combine Buddhism with AI and other present-day technologies are beginning to emerge, albeit, gradually. We think that new approaches to Buddhism through technology are important ways of making Buddhism attractive, particularly to younger generations.'

As a bonus from their research, the team has created a Japanese language website where people can upload facial photos of themselves and have these matched to statues with similar expressions. It's a way for 21st-century devotees to make personal connections with this ancient art.

ALSO READ: Mixed Reality Museum in Kyoto: A unique insight into centuries-old Japanese artwork

Disclaimer

Microsoft Corporation published this content on 19 February 2019 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 19 February 2019 14:58:06 UTC

share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
0
Latest news on MICROSOFT CORPORATION
09:59aMICROSOFT : Is Japan's ancient Ashura Buddha statue happy or sad? AI tries to fi..
PU
02/15MICROSOFT : The Jacksonville teacher with a time machine
PU
02/15MICROSOFT : Feb. 28 webcast offers lessons on securing education data
PU
02/15MICROSOFT : Officially licensed ‘Gears of War' figures, comic book and ret..
PU
02/15MICROSOFT : ‘Crackdown 3' now available with Xbox Game Pass on Xbox One an..
PU
02/14BLACK HISTORY MONTH : A time to lift each other up
PU
02/14MICROSOFT : for Healthcare Innovation Award Winners at HIMSS 2019
PU
02/14MICROSOFT : Xbox Game Pass favorites to fall in love with on Valentine's Day
PU
02/14Google, Amazon among those targeted in EU unfair practices digital rules
RE
02/14AMAZON COM : Huawei to build data centres in South Africa
RE
More news
Financials ($)
Sales 2019 124 B
EBIT 2019 40 547 M
Net income 2019 34 305 M
Finance 2019 58 112 M
Yield 2019 1,66%
P/E ratio 2019 24,46
P/E ratio 2020 21,65
EV / Sales 2019 6,23x
EV / Sales 2020 5,58x
Capitalization 830 B
Chart MICROSOFT CORPORATION
Duration : Period :
Microsoft Corporation Technical Analysis Chart | MarketScreener
Full-screen chart
Technical analysis trends MICROSOFT CORPORATION
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
TrendsBullishNeutralNeutral
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
Sell
Buy
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 34
Average target price 126 $
Spread / Average Target 16%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Satya Nadella Chief Executive Officer & Director
Bradford L. Smith President & Chief Legal Officer
John Wendell Thompson Independent Chairman
Jean-Philippe Courtois President-Global Sales, Marketing & Operations
Amy E. Hood Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
MICROSOFT CORPORATION6.55%830 287
RED HAT3.04%31 990
ATLASSIAN CORPORATION PLC17.89%25 124
SPLUNK INC29.95%20 135
SYNOPSYS20.67%15 176
SS&C TECHNOLOGIES HOLDINGS, INC.32.70%15 013