Good deeds for Google money: a new AI Impact Challenge

    AI really save the world? Not so long ago, we wrote about large-scale contests from XPRIZE and DARPA, and now Google has joined them. On October 29, the corporation announced the start of filing applications for the AI ​​Impact Challenge - a contest with a prize fund of $ 25 million. Its goal is to create AI solutions for social and environmental problems. And, perhaps, to earn corporations a plus in karma, which she now needs.

    The image of “humanist company” Google shook a bit when the IT giant signed a contract with the Pentagon to develop AI for military drones. In this regard, many employees declared a protest , some even quit. The management had to meet and break the agreement, at which the company planned to earn at least $ 15 million.

    Let us return to the AI ​​Impact Challenge. The organizers emphasize that its goal is not to generate income from the development, but to create an AI that will work for the benefit of society. Participate in the competition primarily invited social enterprises, research institutions and independent developers. Commercial organizations can also apply, but only with charity projects.

    Participants who have passed the competitive selection will share a grant in the amount of $ 25 million. They will also receive access to Google’s internal services and trainings from the company's AI experts.

    Applications for participation in the competition are accepted until January 22, 2019, and the winners will be announced at the May Google I / O conference.

    Why Google contestants have so little time is unknown. For example, the same IBM XPRIZE gives participants a year to prepare. On the other hand, Google’s prize pool is much larger than its competitors: DARPA determined the maximum budget for each team at $ 1 million (at Google - $ 2 million), and IBM XPRIZE allocated $ 5 million for all participants.

    At the end of the initiative, Google will post the open source code of all funded projects.

    In addition to the announcement of the initiative for the presentation in Sunnyvale, Google demonstrated how AI-developments are already used to diagnose diseases, help people with disabilities and protect endangered species.

    Initially, Jay Yagnik, vice president and developer of Google AI, spoke about a project in which AI was used to reduce clashes between whales and boats.

    The essence of the project is to analyze the songs of whales and killer whales. With their help, you can determine where the animals are and redirect the ships away from them.

    Google AI Vice President Jay Yagnik talks about the launch of the AI ​​Impact Challenge

    “In the future, we hope to analyze nesting sites, migration routes and changes in the numbers of these animals over the years,” said Yagnik. If the project is completed successfully, we will be able to provide biologists with all the necessary information so that they can protect the whales. And soon, and other marine life too. "

    Jay also talked about the Nigerian company Ubenwa (participating in the IBM XPRIZE competition). She created a mobile application with artificial intelligence that prevents choking symptoms in children. According to the company, when analyzing 1,400 records of baby crying, the neural network correctly identified asphyxiation in 95% of cases.

    “Asphyxia is one of the main causes of child mortality worldwide. The Ubenwa app is an incredible example of applying new technologies to devices that people already have. But with AI, devices can now save lives, ”said Yagnik.

    Another project using TensorFlow helps fight illegal logging

    In general, as part of the AI ​​Impact Challenge, each development team can address the problem that seems most important to her - be it saving endangered species, the environment or human lives.

    "We are determined that AI will help speed up the resolution of humanitarian, environmental and social problems around the world," said Jacqueline Fuller, president of the charity group

    AI Impact Challenge is part of the Google's AI for Social Good initiative. As planned by the creators, the initiative should save people from the fear of new technologies and make them more accessible to each user.

    Most likely, such contests are not so much an act of virtue as a way to draw attention to your company. Leaders of the IT-market every now and then lure each other employees - Facebook, for example, recently invited to work the head of AI-development Google. In addition, in the field of artificial intelligence, there is not enough personnel in principle - according to a CB Insights study , the demand for AI developers exceeds their number.

    But perhaps such programs and competitions really help to change the world. At least, the results of the Google contest we will see soon - and there it will be clearer whether these competitions bring some real changes.

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