Microsoft's latest AI for Good program focuses on cultural heritage

Microsoft logo at Ignite
Microsoft logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's AI for Good initiative has added a fourth pillar: cultural heritage.
  • Through AI for Cultural Heritage, Microsoft is hoping to use technology to help preserve things like endangered languages and cultural artifacts around the world.
  • The program is part of a larger $125 million, five-year effort and joins the likes of AI for Earth and AI for Humanitarian Action.

Artificial intelligence is a major point of emphasis for Microsoft, to say the least, and one of it's more interesting efforts in recent years has been the AI for Good program. Built off of a $125 million fund, AI for Good has already expanded to include AI for Earth, AI for Accessibility, and AI for Humanitarian Action initiatives. Now, Microsoft is extending the program further with AI for Cultural Heritage.

"As we have learned more about the dimensions that make up cultural heritage, we've concluded that preserving cultural heritage isn't something that is solely nice to have or nice to do, it's sometimes imperative to the well-being of the world's societies," Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post announcing the program. "Our new AI for Cultural Heritage program will use artificial intelligence to work with nonprofits, universities and governments around the world to help preserve the languages we speak, the places we live and the artifacts we treasure."

The program will focus on preserving things like endangered languages, cultural artifacts, and more. It builds off of work Microsoft is already doing across cities like New York, where it is using AI in concert with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MIT to make its collection accessible to billions of internet denizens around the world. Liekwise, Microsoft is engaged in a project in Mexico to "capture and translate the Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi" languages.

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Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl