Microsoft Launches “AI for Health” Initiative

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  • The program will work to equip academia and non-profit research organizations in their medical research efforts
  • The program’s first set of grantees include the Novartis Foundation, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre among others

Tech giant Microsoft has announced a five-year, $40 million artificial-intelligence initiative called “AI for Health” focused on global health challenges and research. The program will work to equip academia and non-profit research organizations in their medical research efforts. This will involve the development of diagnostics, treatments and preventive measures. It will also work on global health crises and healthcare disparities.

Improve access for underserved populations

Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a statement that the company knows that putting this powerful technology into the hands of experts working on these problems can speed up to create new solutions. It will also help to improve access for underserved populations. The company also aims to work on the problem of uneven distribution of data science expertise too. It estimated that less than five per cent of the world’s AI professionals work in healthcare and non-profit organisations.

The company added that this program will build upon from its previous collaborations. This includes individual efforts focused on sudden infant death syndrome, leprosy, and diabetic retinopathy. It will also work on developing a secure system for sharing biomedical data.

Novartis Foundation, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre

The program’s first set of grantees includes the Novartis Foundation, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, PATH, Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems and the international development organisation BRAC.

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