DataKind Teams Up With Google to Apply AI to Social Good

December 4, 2018

We’re thrilled to announce that DataKind has teamed up with Google to apply AI for social impact! The Google AI Impact Challenge is an open call for nonprofits, academics, and social enterprises around the world to apply with proposals for how they could use AI to help address some of the world’s greatest social challenges. Google will help selected organizations bring their proposals to life with coaching from Google’s AI experts, Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool, credits and consulting from Google Cloud, inclusion in a Google Launchpad Accelerator cohort, and more. DataKind will be working alongside Google to help select and vet proposals as well as support the winners of the challenge.

At DataKind, we couldn’t be happier to see efforts like this. Our mission is to foster a world in which all people on the frontlines of improving human wellbeing have the capability to use AI thoughtfully and ethically to achieve their missions. We strive for a world in which nonprofits delivering healthcare can deploy early warning systems for disease outbreaks, or where disaster relief organizations can harness satellite and drone imagery to rapidly respond to emergencies to save lives. But, there are so many hurdles to getting to that world.

It’s virtually impossible for nonprofits to get the resources to hire machine learning talent, build data-driven systems, or invest in AI solutions. Even with funding, it can be incredibly difficult for organizations to identify which applications of AI are applicable to their work, what data there is to support it, or what solutions may already exist. At DataKind, we run a global network of pro bono data scientists and AI experts from industry and academia who work with organizations to answer exactly these questions. Our role is to help close the gap and foster more opportunities for those with potentially world-changing problems to take steps toward becoming AI-enabled. That’s why commitments like this funding from Google.org are so critical.  

For the Google AI Impact Challenge, we’ll be working with Google.org to help promote the competition far and wide, so that all have an opportunity to participate, we’ll be assessing initial applications to identify the most promising opportunities, we’ll be working hand-in-hand with organizations who are interested in this AI resource to understand if and how they could benefit from it, and we’ll even be helping to train and support these organizations post-award. We’re looking for ideas across a spectrum of social impact domains and levels of technical expertise. To help organizations learn more about AI as they brainstorm ideas, Google created an educational guide on AI with an introduction to the technology, online resources and trainings to get started, and case study examples.

We’re eager to embark on this journey with Google.org and to report back on what we’re seeing across the AI for social impact landscape as things progress. I’ve consistently been impressed with Google.org’s commitment to creating a more just and prosperous world with their activities. I’m happy that they’re stepping up to resource technology for social change at this level and that they’re supporting the projects through to end impact, in contrast to many of the one-off donations or pilot projects we see dotting the landscape today. We both believe in a world where AI is used in the service of the better angels of our nature and, while there is a long way to go to get there, we’re excited to be teaming up for the journey together.

Stay tuned for more, and please do apply to the Google AI Impact Challenge by January 22! Help spread the word to your networks too. We’re looking forward to hearing from you and, hopefully, working with you.

To great things to come,

Jake Porway
Founder & Executive Director
DataKind