Microsoft rolls out human-focused AI ideas » Charity Digital News

Microsoft rolls out human-focused AI ideas

Microsoft has unveiled an artificial intelligence (AI) initiative that it hopes it can use to tackle global issues.

The AI for Earth programme will offer NGOs and other groups access to AI tools and services and technical support to enable them to more efficiently and effectively tackle issues related to water, agriculture, climate change and biodiversity.

In many parts of the world, people find it difficult to access a regular supply of fresh, clean water and nutritious food. Environmental scientists have found that changes to habitats, from the development of land and climate change, are causing species to die out 100 to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate. These trends are only expected to grow more pervasive and severe.

To help address issues such as these, Microsoft announced it will invest more than $2 million into its programme in the next year. This will take the form of grants that enable access to its cloud and AI tools and platforms, training sessions on the technologies and lighthouse projects. Microsoft’s chief environmental scientist, Lucas Joppa, used the London event to share more details about the programme and the tools available.

The company also announced Microsoft Research AI, a new research and incubation hub within Microsoft Research, to address the most difficult challenges in AI; an exploration of new AI principles and an Ethical Design Guide for AI, which will help Microsoft developers make AI accessible and inclusive so humans can make the most of the opportunities that AI will create; the availability of Seeing AI, a new iOS app that’s available without additional charge to help blind and low-vision people harness the power of AI to open up the visual world, and a new partnership with machine learning expert Max Welling from the University of Amsterdam.

Related reading