Google announced on Monday a new program called AI for Social Good. Alphabet's unit will grant about $25 million globally to humanitarian and environmental projects that use artificial intelligence (AI).
As a part of AI for Social Good, Google is also launching the Google AI Impact Challenge, 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.
Google will help selected organizations bring their proposals to life with coaching from its AI experts, Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool, and credits and consulting from Google Cloud. Grantees will also join a specialized Launchpad Accelerator program, and Google will tailor additional support to each project’s needs in collaboration with data science nonprofit DataKind. In spring of 2019, an international panel of experts, who work in computer science and the social sector, will help Google choose the top proposals.
For any nonprofit or researcher who has a great idea or wants help brainstorming one, Google has built an educational guide with introductions to AI and the types of problems it’s well-suited for, as well as workshops in key locations around the world.
At a media event on Monday, Google showcased existing projects similar to those it wants to inspire. In one, Google’s computers recently learned to detect the singing of humpback whales with 90 percent precision from 170,000 hours of underwater audio recordings gathered by the U.S. government.
Julie Cattiau, a Google product manager for the whale work, said Google plans to make the whale software available to additional organizations to improve.
Google will not charge for such tools, though users could choose to pair them with paid Google cloud services.
Google’s rivals Microsoft and Amazon.com tout "AI for good" initiatives too.