Back in June, Microsoft announced its AI for Earth program, an initiative to help "solve global environmental challenges". This included offering AI tools, technologies, and cloud-based resources to researchers and organizations, in order to find solutions to issues related to biodiversity, climate change, and water.
Today, Microsoft has announced that it is committing $50 million to its program, because it believes that AI for Earth can be a "game-changer".
In a blog post, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith has stated that the advancement in AI will facilitate researchers in better understanding the environmental issues adversely affecting the planet. Smith believes that AI can be trained to collect and process large amounts of data, which can then be presented to organizations as actionable intelligence. The executive also noted examples of companies in Norway, Singapore, and Australia, that are already using Microsoft's AI technologies to enhance efficiency and growth.
Smith went on to say that:
At Microsoft, we believe AI for Earth will be a force multiplier for groups and individuals like these who are creating sustainable solutions. That’s why we’re not just putting more resources into this effort, but also coupling this with a long-term commitment to applying AI to grow and scale in four key areas – climate, water, agriculture and biodiversity.
With this $50 million investment in the AI for Earth initiative, the company also outlined its roadmap for the next five years, saying that it will offer more grants to universities and non-governmental organizations to develop AI-based applications. Microsoft will invest more in projects that show the most promise, also allowing firms to commercialize their AI services, in order to achieve a global impact. Lastly, the company will also be integrating the latest new advancements in AI into platform-level services so that other researchers and firms can also use them to succeed at their own sustainability goals.
Microsoft's $50 million investment in AI for Earth emphasizes the company's commitment to the technology. Recently, it announced Project Brainwave for real-time artificial intelligence, and less than a month ago, it even teamed up with Amazon to unveil Gluon, a new deep learning library which allows developers to build sophisticated machine learning models with relative ease.