Last Call To Join Google's AI Impact Challenge
Written by Sue Gee   
Thursday, 17 January 2019, Google's nonprofit arm, is inviting organizations around the world to submit their ideas for how they could use AI to help address societal challenges. Selected organizations will receive funding from a $25M pool together with support from Google’s AI experts to transform ideas into action.

The Google AI Impact Challenge is open to any nonprofit organization, public charity, or for-profit business from around the world (with the usual exceptions of Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria), provided that they apply on behalf of a project that has an explicit charitable purpose. Individuals without organizational affiliation are ineligible.

According to Jacquelline Fuller, President of and one of the panel of expert reviewers who will ultimately decide which applicants are awarded funds, hundreds of non-profits and research organizations have already applied. However, there is still time to make your pitch, which is matter of completing a form and estimated to require a couple of hours, before the  deadline at 11:59 p.m. PT on January 22, 2019.

We covered details of the AI Impact Challenge, including the judging criteria, back in October 2018, and also pointed to a set of educational resources including examples of what AI and ML can do which could be a good starting point for sources of inspiration. If you are still looking for supporting evidence to bolster an application, in her post on The Keyword, Fuller refers to research in which collaborated with the McKinsey Global Institute to identify ways AI can drive social change. It resulted in a Discussion Paper, Notes from the AI frontier (pdf) a condensed  version of which has the title Applying Artificial Intelligence for Social Good and takes as its strap line:

AI is not a silver bullet, but it could help tackle some of the world’s most challenging social problems.

Having analyzed about 160 AI social-impact use cases, over ten domains from Crisis response and Economic empowerment to Health and hunger and Security and justice, the researchers concluded that:

existing capabilities could contribute to tackling cases across all 17 of the UN’s sustainable-development goals, potentially helping hundreds of millions of people in both advanced and emerging countries.


The report elaborates stating:

Real-life examples of AI are already being applied in about one-third of these use cases, albeit in relatively small tests. They range from diagnosing cancer to helping blind people navigate their surroundings, identifying victims of online sexual exploitation, and aiding disaster-relief efforts (such as the flooding that followed Hurricane Harvey in 2017).

According to McKinsey AI has the greatest potential for impact in four areas: health and hunger, education, justice, equality and inclusion. The researchers identified 18 AI capabilities that could be used to benefit society, 14 of which fall into three major categories: computer vision, natural-language processing, and speech and audio processing. Reinforcement learning, content generation, and structured deep learning were three of the others with the final one being analytics techniques - seems a pretty comprehensive list to me. 

McKinsey’s report also highlights potential risks and pitfalls, arguing that to be successful, AI tools and techniques must be applied responsibly and that clear principles must be established so that the solutions consider negative impacts, such as the perpetuation of bias, on disadvantaged populations.

The AI Impact Challenge is bound to contribute to the use of AI for social good and we'll continue to follow its progress. 



More Information

Google AI Impact Challenge: a week to apply, plus research on why you should

Discussion Paper, Notes from the AI frontier (pdf)

Applying Artificial Intelligence for Social Good

AI For Social Good

Impact Challenge FAQ

Google AI Impact Challenge Application Guide

Using AI for social good

Related Articles

Google's AI Impact Challenge - $25 Million For Social Good

Google AI At I/O 

Microsoft Launches AI Idea Challenge

Robotics for Good

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Google AI Impact Challenge: a week to apply, plus research on why you should

Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 January 2019 )