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Microsoft $25 Million Programme Announced to Use AI for Disabilities

Microsoft $25 Million Programme announced as an initiative for using Artificial Intelligence in order to build better technology for disabled people.

Microsoft $25 Million Programme

Microsoft $25 Million Programme (168 Crores INR approx.) has been launched which is an effort to use Artificial Intelligence for building better technology for disabled people. CEO Satya Nadella announced the latest ‘AI for Accessibility’ initiative as he kicked off Microsoft’s annual conference for software developers. The Build conference in Seattle is for fostering enthusiasm for the company’s latest ventures in Internet-connected devices, virtual reality, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. The major competitors of Microsoft for offering Internet-connected services to different organizations and businesses are Google and Amazon.

The conference and the new Microsoft $25 Million Programme is an initiative which offers Microsoft an opportunity to emphasis the philosophy of building Artificial Intelligence for social good. This could help in countering some of the ethical and privacy concerns that have risen over Artificial Intelligence and other fast-developing technology. This includes the potential that software formulas can perpetuate or even amplify racial and gender biases. This 5-year accessibility initiative will also include seed grants for non-profit organisations, startups, academic researchers, along with deeper investments and expertise from Microsoft researchers.

Microsoft $25 Million Programme – A New Hope for Disables!

According to the President of Microsoft – Brad Smith, the company is hoping to empower people by accelerating the development of AI tools providing them with better opportunities for independence and employment. He said in an interview “It may be an accessibility need relating to vision or deafness or to something like autism or dyslexia. There are about a billion people on the planet who have some kind of disability, either permanent or temporary. Those people already have huge potential, but technology can help them accomplish even more.”

The company has already experimented with its own accessibility tools, such as a ‘Seeing AI’ free smartphone app that uses computer vision and narration for helping people navigate if they are blind or have low vision. Nadella introduced this app at a previous Build conference. Microsoft’s translation tool even provides deaf users with real-time capturing of conversations. Nick McQuire, an analyst at CCS Insight said, “People with disabilities are often overlooked when it comes to technology advances, but Microsoft sees this as a key area to address concerns over the technology and compete against Google, Amazon and IBM.”

Other than Microsoft $25 Million Programme, more announcements at the Build conference include partnerships with drone company DJI and chipmaker Qualcomm. More than 6,000 people are registered for attending, most of them developers who build apps for Microsoft’s products.

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