The technology major Google has announced that it would be granting about $25 million globally next year to humanitarian and environmental projects seeking to use artificial intelligence (AI) to speed up and grow their efforts.
In this, the “AI Impact Challenge” is supposed to inspire organizations to ask Google for help in machine learning, a form of AI in which computers analyze large datasets to make predictions or detect patterns and anomalies.
With this, Google could possibly recruit and soothe critics by demonstrating that its interests in machine learning extend beyond its core business and other lucrative areas.
Irina Kofman, Google AI Chief Operating Officer stated that the challenge was not a reaction to such pushback, but noted that thousands of employees are eager to work on “social good” projects even though they do not directly generate revenue.
Julie Cattiau, a Google product manager mentioned that the company will not charge for such tools, though users could choose to pair them with paid Google cloud services.
This year, Google filtered grant applications with its own machine-learning tool for the first time after receiving a record number of entries for an Africa-specific competition.