Microsoft announces $50 mn investment for artificial intelligence

Microsoft Brad SmithMicrosoft President Brad Smith announced a $50 million investment program, over the next five years, to boost artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and support the growth.

AI can accelerate the ability to observe environmental systems and how they are changing at a global scale, convert the data into useful information and apply that information to take concrete steps to better manage our natural resources.

Microsoft will expand seed grants around the world to create and test new AI applications. “Since our launch of AI for Earth six months ago, Microsoft has awarded over 35 grants in more than 10 countries for access to Microsoft Azure and AI technology,” Brad Smith said.

“We will provide universities, nongovernmental organizations and others with advanced training to put AI to its best use. Already, we’re seeing success around the world in projects that are putting AI to work on climate, water, agriculture and biodiversity,” Brad Smith said.

Agder Energi, a utility in Norway that produces renewable energy, is using Microsoft’s cloud and AI to capture, analyze and act on the intelligence gathered across its electrical grid. Agder is now able to predict and prepare for vacillating energy needs in response to changes in demand as electric vehicles increasingly tax Norway’s grid.

AI has enhanced the performance of existing infrastructure, reducing the need for expensive new projects. AI is helping create a more effective, reliable and autonomous grid, while enabling customers and the country to consume more renewable energy as it transitions to a more electricity-based future.

JTC, responsible for the development of industrial infrastructure in Singapore, has centralized its operations on the Microsoft Cloud to monitor, analyze and optimize 39 of its buildings. JTC is using sensor data and analytics to identity and rectify faults before breakdowns occur, resulting in a 15 percent drop in energy cost avoidance in the first three buildings.

“Estimates suggest that in the United States, buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of total energy consumption. That means an efficiency improvement of even 15 percent in buildings globally would translate into a 6 percent reduction in global energy consumption,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

The Yield, a Tasmanian agri-tech company, has created a solution that uses sensors, analytics and apps to produce real-time weather data, right down to field level, helping growers in Australia make smarter decisions that can reduce their use of water and other inputs while also increasing their yield.

Yield is working with oyster farmers in Australia to create the first product to increase aquaculture production using machine learning. The solution already has reduced harvest closures caused by rain by 30 percent, giving growers back four weeks a year of harvest time.

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