Microsoft announces $25 million AI initiative for differently-abled people

Microsoft is launching a $25 million initiative, its a five-year programme for developers globally including in India. CEO Satya Nadella has announced the programme as “AI for Accessibility.”

To help people with disabilities, Microsoft is launching a $25 million initiative. Its, a five-year programme for developers globally including in India. CEO Satya Nadella has announced the programme as "AI for Accessibility." The Build conference held in Seattle is meant to promote enthusiasm for the company's latest ventures in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and internet-connected devices.

Microsoft announces $25 million AI initiative for differently-abled

With this programme, the developers will have the AI tools in their hands to accelerate the development of accessible and smart AI solution for people with disabilities.

"It is important for us to figure out how to empower more people. It has been a personal passion of mine to help people suffering from disabilities like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and autism," BGR quoted, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as saying at "Build 2018," the company's annual developers' conference on Monday.

"AI for Accessibility is a grand programme for the researchers, NGOs and developers - providing them with platform technologies so that they can help over one billion people with disabilities," Nadella added.

Globally there are only one in 10 people with disabilities has access to assistive technologies and product. There are several Microsoft applications who are currently helping deaf people or the one who are hard-of-hearing with real-time captioning of conversations.

"People with disabilities are often overlooked when it comes to technology advances, but Microsoft sees this as a key area to address concerns over the technology and competes against Google, Amazon and IBM," News18 quoted Nick McQuire, an analyst at CCS Insight.

There are students from India who have created AI and Machine Learning-based apps. "Practikality" is the one of such app, developed by students of Amity International School in Gurugram, this app helps the differently-abled to communicate efficiently.

Microsoft announces $25 million AI initiative for differently-abled

"It is very interesting to see that students are applying the AI technology in different ways in several use cases, helping us in industries like healthcare and education," Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, recently told IANS.

Microsoft's idea is to get more startups who are interested in building tools for people with disabilities, both for the social good and for their market potential.

In addition, the company has also announced its partnerships with drone company DJI and chipmaker Qualcomm at the Build conference.

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