Microsoft commits $25 mn to use AI for people with disabilities

Tech giant Microsoft has committed USD 25 million for its 'AI for Accessibility' programme to accelerate development of artificial intelligence-based solutions for over a billion people with disabilities globally.

The five-year programme will put AI tools in the hands of developers to accelerate the development of accessible and intelligent AI solutions to benefit them, Microsoft said in a blog post.

"AI advances like these offer enormous potential by enabling people with vision, hearing, cognitive, learning, mobility disabilities and mental health conditions do more in three specific scenarios: employment, modern life and human connection," the blog said.

It noted that around the world, only one in 10 people with disabilities has access to assistive technologies and products.

"By making AI solutions more widely available, we believe technology can have a broad impact on this important community," the blog added.

Under the programme, Microsoft will provide seed grants of technology to developers, universities, non-governmental organisations, and inventors taking an AI-first approach.

It will identify projects that show promise and make larger investments of technology and access to Microsoft AI experts to help bring them to scale.

Then, the Redmond-based company will work with its partners to incorporate these innovations into platform-level services to empower others to maximise the accessibility of the offerings.