Google pledges $25 million for projects using AI to solve societal problems

Google said applicants don't have to be an AI expert and it has worked out an educational guide.

Google has pledged to give $25 million to launch projects that apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to inspiring solutions to societal problems.

Children play around a sign of Alphabet Inc's Google outside its office in Beijing, China August 7, 2018. Picture taken August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.    REUTERS/Stringer - RC1D27A43660

Children play around a sign of Alphabet Inc's Google. Reuters

Google said the grant will be used to fund the Google AI Impact Challenge contest, which is part of its AI for Social Good program dedicated to "addressing some of society's biggest unsolved challenges", Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

The California-based hi-tech powerhouse is making 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 said applicants don't have to be an AI expert and it has worked out an educational guide to help them identify most suitable projects that have a significant social impact.

"An international panel of experts, who work in computer science and the social sector" will assess the proposals to select top winners in the spring of 2019, Google said.

The company said it has been working on AI technology over the past years to roll out projects with positive societal impact, such as forecasting floods, protecting whales, and predicting famine.

It said its AI technology makes it possible to scan 100,000 hours of audio recorded in the Pacific to identify whale sounds for better protection of humpback whales and other endangered species.

Google noted that its deep learning technology has played a key role over the past few years in advancing wildlife conservation, employment, flood prediction, wildfire prevention, and infant health.

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