Tech giant Microsoft is stepping up to help save the world by offering its artificial intelligence (AI) technology for working on humanitarian efforts across the world.
Microsoft announced on its blog yesterday that it will offer its AI tech to those working on humanitarian efforts. It said that over the course of next five years, its ‘AI for Humanitarian Action’ program will invest $40 million towards initiatives focused in four priorities; disaster response, refugees and displaced people, needs of children, and human rights.
Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote, “We believe that technology, like artificial intelligence combined with cloud technology, can be a game changer, helping save more lives, alleviate suffering and restore human dignity by changing the way frontline relief organizations anticipate, predict and better target response efforts.”
For disaster response, Microsoft aims to use AI to help predict upcoming disasters, assess damage more quickly and target aid more effectively. Partnering with United Nations, World Bank and other tech firms, Microsoft is making an effort to forecast famines across the world. For needs of children, Microsoft believes its AI to equip NGOs and firms with better tools to protect children from various criminal activities like human trafficking.
It further said that AI and machine learning can improve lives of around 68 million displaced people, 28 million of whom are refugees. AI can assist in optimizing the aid, services and supplies delivery to refugees and can scale NGOs’ efforts to communicate and understand displaced peoples’ needs. For human rights, Microsoft said that it will partner with NGOs and humanitarian organizations to speed up advanced solutions to help monitor, detect and prevent human rights abuses.
As per Engadget, the program is joins two others that make up Microsoft’s ‘AI for Good’ initiative. The first ‘AI for Earth’ was announced last year and is focused on environmental challenges whereas, the second ‘AI for Accessibility’ effort was announced back in May. With this third program’s addition, the tech giant claims that it will work with NGOs and humanitarian groups to unite its AI and data science with these groups’ expertise.
“We are hopeful the world will see what a compelling force for good AI can be when it’s used well in partnership with innovative NGOs. By ensuring technology fulfills its promise to address the broadest societal needs, we can empower everyone to achieve more,” wrote Smith.