Announcing its plan to broaden the AI for Earth program, Microsoft has pledged $50 million over the next five years to put artificial intelligence technology in the hands of those who are working to mitigate climate change.
The announcement was made by company President Brad Smith at the One Climate Summit in Paris, a conference for global and business leaders who don’t think climate change is a Chinese hoax.
“At Microsoft, we believe artificial intelligence is a game changer. Our approach as a company is focused on democratizing AI so its features and capabilities can be put to use by individuals and organizations around the world to improve real-world outcomes. There are few societal areas where AI can be more impactful than in helping address the urgent work needed to monitor, model and manage the earth’s natural systems,” said Brad Smith. Mr. Smith was quoted on Windows Central.
At launch, Microsoft initially committed just $2 million to the initiative over the next fiscal year. The push to $50 million represents a major increase in resources, most of which will go towards equipping outside organizations and institutions with the AI tools needed to take on water, agriculture, biodiversity, and climate change problems.
Despite the Trump administration’s complete disinterest in anything green that doesn’t involve money or putting, Microsoft joined over 2,500 American companies, universities, cities, states, tribes, and churches in pledging to lower their carbon emissions. The United States is the only country in the world that has failed to ratify the Paris Climate Accord, the landmark global pledge to reduce carbon emissions.
In addition to the new investment in AI for Earth, Microsoft will also expand seed grants for researchers testing environmentalist AI projects, and the company will help scale the projects that show the most promise. According to Mr. Smith, Microsoft may eventually integrate these advancements into its own platforms.