Google has unveiled a new $25 million initiative aimed at supporting the development of artificial intelligence (AI) to address societal issues. The competition, Google AI Impact Challenge, forms part of the company’s broader ‘AI for Social Good’ program which aims to support projects that make use of AI to solve some of the world’s greatest social, humanitarian and environmental issues.
The extensive focus on humanitarian applications for AI comes amid concerns about the technology’s potential downside, with issues ranging from data privacy to employment.
“We want people from as many backgrounds as possible to surface problems that AI can help solve, and to be empowered to create solutions themselves.”Google executives Jeff Dean and Jacquelline Fuller
The competition calls to all non-profit organisations and public charities, as well as for-profit businesses – as long as they demonstrate their projects have charitable purpose – to submit applications by January 22, 2019. With an international judging panel reviewing proposals and announcing grant recipients next spring.
What’s more is applicants don’t have to be experts in AI either. Google has included a set of educational resources that range from a self-study course, detailed guides to examples of AI projects that fall within the scope of what Google are hoping to uncover. Google also include a ‘get inspired’ section on their website; detailing past projects including a mobile app for detecting plant disease for farmers in Africa, and mapping fishing worldwide to create more sustainable policy.
In addition to a proportion of the $25 million pot, accepted proposals will also benefit from Google Cloud credits for computing costs, as well as guidance from Google Cloud and DataKind, a data science non-profit.
Application criteria, eligibility requirements and educational resources are detailed on Google’s Impact Challenge website.