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Google pledges $25 mn to AI for social good

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San Francisco, 30 October : Google has pledged $25 million to launch projects that apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to find solutions for various societal problems.

Google said the grant will be used to fund the “AI Impact Challenge” contest, which is part of its “AI for Social Good” programme dedicated to “addressing some of society’s biggest unsolved challenges”.

“We’ll help selected organisations bring their proposals to life with coaching from Google’s AI experts, Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool, and credits and consulting from Google Cloud,” Jeff Dean, Google Senior Fellow and SVP, Google AI, said in a blog post late Monday.

Grantees will also join a specialised “Launchpad Accelerator” programme.

The California-based tech giant is making a “global call for nonprofits, academics, and social enterprises from around the world to submit proposals on how they could use AI to help address some of the world’s greatest social, humanitarian and environmental problems.”

“In spring of 2019, an international panel of experts, who work in computer science and the social sector, will help us choose the top proposals,” Google said.

Google said applicants don’t have to be an AI expert and it has worked out an educational guide to help them identify most suitable projects that have significant social impact.

The company said it has been working on AI technology over the past years to roll out projects with positive societal impact, such as forecasting floods, protecting whales, and predicting famine.

It said its AI technology makes it possible to scan 100,000 hours of audio recorded in the Pacific to identify whale sounds for better protection of humpback whales and other endangered species.

Google noted that its deep learning technology has played a key role over the past few years in advancing wildlife conservation, employment, flood prediction, wildfire prevention and infant health.

“We’re excited to see what new ideas nonprofits, developers and social entrepreneurs from across the world come up with-and we’re looking forward to supporting them as best we can,” said Jacquelline Fuller, VP, Google and President, Google.org.

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