Microsoft intends to encourage humanitarian groups and non-government organizations to assist it in exploring potential use cases for AI, specifically in times of natural catastrophes.
The artificial intelligence (AI) for Humanitarian Action program is expected to concentrate on utilizing AI technologies in aiding select NGOs across the globe, particularly those working on projects in four main areas.
The organizations targeted in this case include humanitarian organizations and non-governmental organizations that respond to various things including human rights abuses, refugee crisis situations, child protection incidents, and natural catastrophes. Microsoft will support such organizations by providing investments and grants.
“While global relief organizations scramble to respond to these events, their work by definition is often reactive and difficult to scale.
We believe that technology, like artificial intelligence combined with cloud, 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,” said Brad Smith, the Microsoft president, in a blog post announcing the initiative’s launch.
“We will work deeply with selected NGOs and humanitarian organizations through financial grants, technology investments and partnerships that combine our AI and data science know-how with these groups’ core expertise.”
The initiative by Microsoft makes up part of the company’s broader campaign for AI for Good.
Since its inception back in July 2017, this undertaking has already witnessed the global software giant committing to spend about $115 million over a five-years’ duration, particularly on AI research projects developed to help in addressing various challenges in society including environmental sustainability and accessibility.
Smith also asserted that the project is developed to identify ways that artificial intelligence (AI) can be utilized as a “compelling force for good” in the non-governmental sector. “By ensuring technology fulfils its promise to address the broadest societal needs, we can empower everyone to achieve more,” he said.
News of the announcement corresponds with the beginning of Microsoft’s Ignite developer and customer conference held in Orlando, Florida.
The software giant is anticipated to emphasize its view that cloud integrated with AI and big data would trigger a transformational effect on businesses in the future.
Towards Ignite, Microsoft proclaimed Shell, an oil and gas giant, as a good example of a business that is integrating the remarkable Azure cloud with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in its upstream and downstream enterprise.
The show is also scheduled to see the software giant announce several new enhancements and additions to its artificial intelligence (AI) portfolio, which will comprise of the invitation-only launch of its Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise.
The new offering is developed with a mission of assisting businesses in incorporating Cortana into their enterprise processes in a bid to allow employees to use both natural language and voice to allow Microsoft’s virtual assistant technology to undertake company-specific functions.
The need for lowering the technical barriers and skills to machine learning and AI has risen as a persistent topic of discussion among the leading public cloud companies in recent years.
For this reason, the company is anticipated to make an announcement regarding the expanded functionality for its Azure Machine Learning service that is made to allow businesses of all sizes to create and train machine learning models to leverage their datasets in making their predictions.
The expanded functionality is expected to comprise a new automated artificial intelligence (AI) tool that Microsoft says would automatically correct and tweak machine learning models that are currently in use. It will also include additional tools for enabling developers to integrate speech recognition abilities in their products.