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Applying AI to big problems––six research projects we’re supporting in public health, education, disaster prevention, and conservation

Whether it’s forecasting floods or detecting diabetic eye disease -- we’re increasingly seeing people apply AI to address big challenges. In fact, we believe that some of the biggest issues of our time can be tackled with AI. This is why we’ve made research in AI for Social Good one of the key focus areas of Google Research India, the AI lab we started in Bangalore last September. 

As we’re planning to explore applied research in a variety of fields, from healthcare to education, partnering closely with experts in these areas is crucial. Today, we’re kicking off support for six research projects led by organizations from India and across Asia, focusing on addressing social, humanitarian and environmental challenges with AI. Each project is a collaboration between leading academic AI researchers and a nonprofit organization with expertise in the respective area, with support from Google researchers, engineers and program managers.  

In addition to supporting these efforts with expertise in areas such as computer vision, natural language processing, and other deep learning techniques, we are also providing each team with funding and computational resources. 

Improving health information for high HIV/AIDS risk communities: Applying AI to identify influencers among marginalized communities at high risk of HIV/AIDS contraction, with the goal of better disseminating health information, providing services, and ultimately reducing the rate of HIV contraction. 

Predicting risks for expectant mothers: Using AI to predict the risk of expectant mothers dropping out of healthcare programs, to improve targeted interventions and increase positive healthcare outcomes for mothers and their babies.  
Improving consistency of healthcare information input: Applying AI to help ensure consistency in how healthcare information is captured and monitored, to enable more targeted and actionable healthcare interventions.
Predicting human-wildlife conflict: Using AI to predict human-wildlife conflict in the state of Maharashtra to help inform data-driven policy making. 
Improving dam and barrage water release: Using AI to inform dam and barrage water releases, to help build early warning systems that minimize risk of disasters. 
Supporting publishing of underserved Indian language content: Building open-source input tools for underserved Indian languages to accelerate publishing of openly licensed content.
Starting on this research journey today, we look forward to supporting academic researchers, organizations and the broader community over the coming months and years to bring these projects to life. Healthcare, conservation, education, and disaster prediction are some of the most difficult challenges of our time. As computer scientists, it’s incredibly humbling and exciting to partner with the community towards making a positive impact for people in India and around the world.