Microsoft Today

Microsoft Today

MSFT Today 2019-02-20 : Microsoft's AI for Good Initiatives and #TemplatesForHumanity

February 21, 2019

The AI for Good initiatives by Microsoft were created to foster development and support for AI solutions that seek to benefit all of mankind. The initiatives are AI for Accessibility, AI for Earth, and AI for Humanitarian Action. In today's episode of the Microsoft Today Podcast, we're going discuss all of these fantastic initiatives and how you can get involved for the great good.

 AI for Accessibility

Microsoft's goal for AI for Accessibility is to amplify human capability, as they believe that AI can empower people with disabilities with tools that support independence and productivity, as technology rapidly changes the way we live, learn, and work. Microsoft does through grants, investments of technology, and expertise.

 AI for Accessibility Projects
Soundscape - Using sound, to give sight to the blind
Eye Control - Windows 10 APIs for controlling PCs via eye movements
Swiftkey Symbols - Allows simplified communication for non-verbal users
Immersive Reader - Reads text out loud, break it into syllables, and increase spacing between lines and letters
Microsoft Translator - Empowers the deaf and or hearing impaired
Helpicto - Helps autistic individuals communicate via pictograms
Seeing AI - Is a talking camera app that allows the visually impaired to access the visual world


Microsoft Build: AI for Accessibility

 AI for Accessibility & Grantees
Zyrobotics ReadAble Storiez is a reading fluency solution based on STEM and aimed at improving early education literacy skills for young children with varying abilities
Received a $25 million grant from Microsoft
iTherapy is improving communication skills for people with autism, among other cognitive learning disabilities by enhancing their app, InnerVoice, with new capabilities to help people develop their language expression skills and assign meaning to dialogue via naturalized social interactions
Researchers at the University of Iowa are developing an intelligent application for people who are blind or with low vision to independently walk or jog around a 400-meter track, which can determine if someone is veering from their lane, and delivers real-time feedback to help them stay on track
The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation at Vanderbilt University is developing conversational tools that provide people with autism job interview training through meaningful interactions

 AI for Accessibility Grants
Microsoft is looking for individuals or teams who are not only passionate about making the world more inclusive, but also firmly rooted in the communities they intend to benefit
Microsoft wants to invest in ideas that are developed by or with people with disabilities
AI for Accessibility is a call to action for developers, NGO’s, academics, researchers, and inventors to accelerate their work for people with disabilities
This is a global program, grant applications from all countries in the world are eligible
For academic institutions, the grants can be distributed as unrestricted gifts to academic institutions to support a project’s objective

 AI for Earth

AI for Earth is a five-year, $50 million Microsoft initiative that supports, and partners with, environmental groups and researchers while also providing grants. The goal: helping to save the planet with data science. Many of the initiatives are also heavily dependent on the ever-expanding world of Windows IoT (Internet of Things). Microsoft's AI for Earth has four areas of focus:
Climate - The changing climate threatens human health, infrastructure, and natural systems. AI can give people more accurate climate predictions to help reduce the potential impacts
Agriculture - By 2050, farmers must produce more food, on less arable land, and with less environmental impact to feed the world’s increasing population. AI can help people monitor the health of farms in real time
Biodiversity - Species are going extinct at an alarming rate. AI can help people accelerate the discovery, monitoring, and protection of biodiversity acros