AI has the potential to make our lives easier and address some of society’s most complex challenges — from preventing disease and making cities work better, to predicting natural disasters and tackling challenges such as food security.
In Brazil, machine learning is being employed to combat deforestation. In Ghana, our AI Center in Accra detects locust outbreaks which wreak havoc on food crops, allowing farmers to implement control measures. And in Abu Dhabi, our Green Light project helps further reduce stop-and-go emissions by optimizing traffic light timing in accordance with traffic flow. AI also holds immense potential to create new avenues of economic opportunity for emerging markets. According to an Access Partnership report, in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana, AI can add up to $136 billion worth of economic benefits. To realize this opportunity, we’re supporting AI startups, providing free training programs and helping boost business results while protecting users.
Developing and applying AI also raises questions about fairness, bias, misinformation, security and the future of work. Local researchers in each country should lead the way in researching risk and capturing opportunities. That’s why, in September this year, we announced the Digital Futures Project, an initiative to support researchers, academics and organizations creating independent research and analysis, and promoting debate on public policy solutions for the responsible development of AI.
As part of the project, Google.org is providing grants to leading think tanks and academic institutions around the world to facilitate dialogue and inquiry into this important technology. Building on the recent announcement in Europe, today we’re announcing six Digital Futures Project grant recipients in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and their research projects on how AI can unlock local growth opportunities:
- The African Leadership University Foundation will explore how AI can address poverty, hunger and disease in Sub-Saharan Africa, propose AI governance frameworks that can mitigate potential risks, and study AI's impact on social equality and economic opportunity.
- The Startup Nation Policy Institute in Israel will conduct comprehensive research on the local AI landscape to identify promising sectors with the greatest potential for AI-driven growth and formulate policy recommendations.
- The Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government in the UAE, will examine the current AI governance and policy landscape in the Middle East and Northern Africa region, and devise future policy directions for responsible AI adoption.
- VoteLGBT in Brazil, will explain how AI can help identify and fight LGBTphobic political violence.
- The Postgraduate Program in Technologies of Intelligence of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo in Brazil will explore the state of governance of AI-based systems in Brazil. Business development and use of AI in the country will be examined.
- And the Wilson Center in Latin America will investigate how AI can boost economic growth in Latin America and suggest policies to promote its adoption.
This is part of our ongoing commitment to collaborate with industry, academia, governments and civil society, and support independent thinkers representing a range of perspectives.
"AI offers exceptional opportunities to increase competitiveness and develop frontier technologies. We're thrilled to launch a new initiative to help design public policies, fostering responsible AI advancement and deployment in Latin America."
We hope these Digital Futures Projects will yield important insights in each country and region to responsibly harness the potential of AI.