How Artificial Intelligence on Microsoft Azure is solving world problems – It is a new year, a new decade. Last week I gave my predictions on what we can expect from Azure in 2020. If you missed it, go back and check it out and give me your thoughts in a comment or message. In this article I want to share how artificial intelligence can help make the world a better place and more importantly, how you can get involved.
I want to focus on the main Microsoft initiative for using artificial intelligence to solve world problems, AI for Good. So in today’s episode, I’m specifically referring to what Microsoft is doing with Azure and AI. Now Microsoft has four main parts to that program. AI for Earth, AI for Accessibility, AI for Humanitarian Action and AI for Cultural Heritage.
The main purpose of the program boils down to a simple message, get some free Azure compute credits to run your AI project that will fit into one of the four mentioned categories. And I start with Mother Earth. AI for Earth has grants for projects that target climate, agriculture, biodiversity and water issues.
This could be how to produce all the food we’ll need in the world by 2050 and also produce better and healthier food. Microsoft has built, what they call, a “planetary computer” which outlines all of the challenges we face and how we could possibly solve it with AI. Now it is just a website, but yeah, it’s fine. AI for Accessibility is aimed to combat human disabilities by amplifying other capabilities. For example, the app “Seeing AI” available on iOS, Let’s blind people see (kind of).
The App will use the camera on your device to see the world and then translate it into speech. It can recognize your friends standing in front of you and also what their mood is. Azure AI will recognize facial expressions and use it in a real world, useful way. Now, AI for Humanitarian Action supports disaster recovery, the needs of children, promote human rights and much more.
As an example, what’s called “Operation Smile” – a nonprofit uses facial modeling and machine learning to improve surgical outcomes on children that need facial surgery and who doesn’t agree that a brighter smile on any child is a good thing. AI for Cultural Heritage works to protect just that – the rich cultural history of the world includes languages, places, impressions, stories, and so much more and to promote, for example, French culture in the US, a mixed reality model of the famous Mont Saint-Michel was brought to life for people to explore and experience. (well, virtually).
AI is used to make this model almost completely lifelike and so realistic it is like being there yourself. So how can you get involved you might ask? If you have a project you’re already working on or a great idea for how you can use AI in one of those four categories then there are grants right now, that you can apply for and receive funds for. The forms for each are linked below by the AI for Good website. Now in Australia, Microsoft is running the AI for Good Challenge for high school students, which promotes understanding and design thinking for AI.
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