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Microsoft launches $2m AI for Earth initiative

Alex Spencer

Microsoft has launched AI for Earth, a program which intends to apply AI solutions to environmental issues.

AI for Earth will see the company committing $2m to the project over the next fiscal year. It will open up access to AI training and resources for researchers and organisations working on agriculture, biodiversity, climate change and water. 

"The scale and speed of the changes we see in our physical and natural world require new solutions," said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft. "But the latest innovative technologies often come with a price tag and require computational expertise that puts them out of reach for many researchers and non-governmental organizations."

Microsoft will also seek partners for 'lighthouse projects', three of which are already underway, involving smart mosquito traps, drone- and sensor-based agriculture, and land cover mapping.

"Our goal is to empower others in new and more impactful ways to help create a more sustainable future," Smith said. "This program expands our commitments to democratizing AI and advancing sustainability around the globe. And it builds upon our experience in accelerating the pace of innovation bringing together philanthropic work, connectivity advances and more accessible technology around the world."

The AI for Earth project will be led by Lucas Joppa, promoted to the role of chief environmental scientist.

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