Microsoft has announced a five-year, $40 million initiative aimed at leveraging artificial intelligence to empower people and organizations working to advance solutions to urgent global health challenges.
Part of the AI for Good initiative, a $165 million effort launched by the company in 2017, AI for Health, as the new initiative is called, will focus on ensuring that nonprofits, academia, and research organizations have access to the technology, resources, and technical experts they need to apply AI and data science to their work. To that end, the initiative will focus on three areas: accelerating the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease; advancing a shared understanding of mortality and longevity to protect against global health crises; and addressing inequities among and improving access to care for underserved populations.
Inaugural AI for Health grantees include Bangladesh-based BRAC, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Pensacola-based Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems(IRIS), the Novartis Foundation, Seattle-based PATH, and Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
“Unlocking and sharing data is critical to discovering new ways to treat and ultimately cure cancer,” said Raphael Gottardo, scientific director of the Translational Data Science Integrated Research Center at the Hutch. “Working in close collaboration with Microsoft, we will be able to harness new advances in AI, machine learning, and cloud computing to spur innovation and open up new avenues for preventing and treating cancer and related diseases.”
“Artificial intelligence has the potential to solve some of humanities greatest challenges, like improving the health of communities around the world,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith. “We know that putting this powerful technology into the hands of experts tackling this problem can accelerate new solutions and improve access for underserved populations. That’s why we created AI for Health.”