Microsoft is investing $40 million in an "AI for Health" initiative

Microsoft recently announced that it will dedicate 5 years and $40 million to a new initiative called AI for Health.

The program is the latest outgrowth of the company's partly philanthropic AI for Good program, which focuses on applying artificial intelligence to social good projects. Other program initiatives include AI for Accessibility, AI for Earth and AI for Cultural Heritage.

From John Kahan, who wrote the blog post announcing the program:

AI for Health is a philanthropic initiative that complements our broader work in Microsoft Healthcare. Through AI for Health, we will support specific nonprofits and academic collaboration with Microsoft’s leading data scientists, access to best-in-class AI tools and cloud computing, and select cash grants.

The program has launched with several projects in the works. They include studying the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, end-to-end diabetic retinopathy diagnostic software, and methods for improving "cross-organizational access to information" to improve medical research.

A chief goal of the intiative is to bring AI talent and resources to the health and non-profit sectors, according to Kahan.

"More than 50% of AI professionals work in tech, and less than 5% are operating within the health and nonprofit sectors," Kahan wrote. "As a result, medical researchers are hampered due to AI talent shortages worldwide."

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