Microsoft has announced it will be working alongside UK companies to help the planet as well as individuals with disabilities by developing artificial intelligence (AI) at the recent Future Decoded expo for 2019.
The London-based event saw Chief Environmental Officer for Microsoft, Dr Lucas Joppa, deliver his keynote address in which he announced the second edition of the ‘AI for Good’ scheme and invited suitable businesses to take part.
A progressive programme for social and ecologically minded enterprises
The initiative will take place over four months with 12 successful applicants chosen from charities, start-ups and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with a social-focused mission. Each of the 12 will receive credits for Microsoft’s cloud-based platform Azure. They’ll also benefit from full access to specially designed workshops created to assist in developing their unique products and getting them on the market.
Joppa remarked on the AI programme:
“AI is one of the most important tools we have to accelerate innovation at the speed and scale we need to address climate change and other important societal challenges. It’s exciting to see Microsoft’s AI for Good initiative evolving to engage new partners and help catalyse social impact organizations across the UK.”
Four areas of concern
This latest edition of AI for Good will be operated from Microsoft Reactor situated in London’s Shoreditch and will be taking applications from businesses developing Artificial Intelligence in four different categories.
AI for Earth is created for ventures developing AI to address environmental issues on a global scale including biodiversity, climate change, agriculture and water along with constructing a sustainable future.
AI for Accessibility is designed for companies working on AI solutions that assist individuals with disabilities in several different areas including communication, employment and their day-to-day lives.
AI for Humanitarian Action is for humanitarian and non-profit organisations delivering disaster responses, support for displaced individuals and refugees as well as protection of human rights.
The final area, AI for Cultural Heritage, is a new category for Microsoft’s latest AI for Good programme, designed for organisations who aim to preserve cultural heritage. This wide-ranging category includes the development of digital tools used to preserve monuments, preservation of languages and designing easy access methods of cultural archives.
Chief Operating Officer at Microsoft UK, Clare Barclay, commented on the scheme:
“I’m proud to see the launch of the second AI for Good cohort in the UK. It will ensure that, once again, the UK will be home to some of the brightest minds and companies who are working hard to improve the planet for the current generation and those that follow.”
The closing date for submitting applications to the AI for Good initiative is set for November 15 2019.
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