While consumers are still struggling to see the daily realities of artificial intelligence (A.I.) Microsoft is pushing ahead with the technology for other, more philanthropic uses. Today, Microsoft is announcing a new five-year $40 million-dollar initiative using A.I. to assist with "humanitarian crises caused by natural and man-made disasters, oppression and other emergencies."
The project is called AI for Humanitarian Action and it will "harness the power of AI to focus on four priorities – helping the world recover from disasters, addressing the needs of children, protecting refugees and displaced people, and promoting respect for human rights" according to a press release from Microsoft.
AI for Humanitarian Action is part of a more extensive $150 million-dollar five-year program called Microsoft's AI for Good, which includes the previously announced AI for Earth and AI for Accessibility initiatives.
Through a process, Microsoft works with select non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and humanitarian groups with allocations for "financial grants, technology investments and partnerships that combine our AI and data science know-how with these groups' core expertise."
While all of this may sound a bit squishy without firm examples, Microsoft did present an outline for four significant areas they seek to leverage A.I. solutions for humanitarian issues, including:
Needs of children
Refugees and displaced people
For Microsoft, A.I. is a very different concept than what consumers may have seen in the movies, but with intelligent computing infusing daily computing tasks (see Office), the future of data analysis – especially when it comes to helping people – is quickly becoming a reality.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.