Microsoft opens new centre to address societal challenges using cloud and AI

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Microsoft Research India (MRI) on Wednesday announced the establishment of a new centre in Bengaluru called SCAI (Societal impact through Cloud and Artificial Intelligence).

This centre aims to create, nurture and deploy the technologies that will have a real world and large-scale impact on the society. Through SCAI, Microsoft plans to associate with academic groups, startups, NGOs and many other similar organizations interested in driving change to the society through technology.

SCAI will focus on engaging with these communities through external collaborations, SCAI fellow program and through active proposals. On association, the collaborators will benefit through financial grants, access to Microsoft Researchers, technologies and deep awareness on Startup businesses from Microsoft. Through this centre launch, the collaborators will have grounds on where they can exchange ideas.

“At MSR India, we have been conducting research in the ICTD space since our inception. We see SCAI as a natural evolution of this, and we will partner with like-minded collaborators to apply technology to solve some of the most pressing problems in today’s world. I am looking forward to truly impactful projects emerging from SCAI,” said Sriram Rajamani, Managing Director of Microsoft Research India.

Microsoft Research India has been performing research on how technologies can help underserved areas all over the world through the Technologies for Emerging Markets (TEM) group.

Eric Horvitz, Director at Microsoft Research said in a statement that the company sees several opportunities in leveraging new innovations in cloud computing and AI technologies to focus on long-term challenges faced by the society, including health, transportation, education and agriculture.

To achieve this goal, Microsoft has already started working with four organizations, selected through a highly competitive RFP process:

  • Respirer Living Sciences for a project focusing on urban air pollution;
  • NIMHANS for a project on mental health;
  • Pratham Books for assisted translation system which enables children to read storybooks in multiple languages;
  • Voicedeck Technologies for Learn2Earn, a program which reinforces education and rewards learning through financial incentives.

SCAI has also collaborated with Navana Tech to build text-free, voice assisted technology, and Three Wheels United to enable “scalable lending to clients in emerging markets through technology.”

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Photo: Microsoft

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