Microsoft Launches $40M AI for Health Program

Microsoft has launched another program to help tackle society’s largest issues.

According to VentureBeat, the Seattle-based tech giant has announced a $40 million project designed to empower researchers and organizations to address challenges in health.

The program, called AI for Health, focuses on three areas: “accelerating medical research to advance prevention, diagnoses, and treatment of diseases;” “increasing our shared understanding of mortality and longevity to protect against global health crises;” and “reducing health inequity and improving access to care for underserved populations.”

As detailed by Microsoft executives Brad Smith, Peter Lee, and John Kahan at an event, AI for Health will operate for five years and run via partnerships both existing and new. Partners include the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, the Novartis Foundation, and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“We look forward to working with researchers, academics, nonprofits, health industry professionals and policymakers around the world as we accelerate research and insights,” wrote Smith in a blog post. “Together, we can improve the health of people and communities globally.”

The project is the fifth installment of Microsoft’s “AI for Good” initiative. The first one, AI for Earth, was launched in 2017 and provided cloud-based tools and services to startups working to protect the planet. AI for Accessibility was unveiled in early 2018, while AI for Humanitarian Action was revealed in the latter part of the year. AI for Cultural Heritage, which was launched in 2019, was designed to leverage “the power of AI to empower people and organizations dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage,” Microsoft says.

Photo: Raimond Spekking