AI for Earth Grant Recipient Videos and Coding Challenge

Update on June 3, 2019: Added video from SOS Mata Atlantica.  

Earth Day is April 22, and next year (2020) will be the 50th anniversary!  Leading up to that day, I’d love to share some videos which highlight the amazing work that our AI for Earth grant recipients are doing, using machine learning to solve hard challenges in agriculture, water, climate change, and biodiversity. 

Wild Me

Wild Me is using computer vision and deep learning algorithms to power Wildbook, a platform that can identify individual animals within a species.  They also augment their data with an intelligent agent that can mine social media. 


SilviaTerra is empowering conservationists, government organizations, and land owners to inventory forests for ecological, social, and economic health using AI.

Tohoku University

On March 11, 2011, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded shook the northeastern coast of Japan, causing a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people. More than 2,000 remain missing. The Tohoku region outside of Tokyo was hit especially hard, forcing the local community to completely rethink how it responds to future disasters. With the help of a grant from Microsoft’s AI for Earth program, researchers like Bai Yanbing of Tohoku University are attempting to harness the power of artificial intelligence solutions to improve mapping technology so that relief workers might stand a better chance of saving more lives when the next earthquake hits. “Japan is very much earthquake country,” warns Professor Jun Murai of Keio University. “So the resiliency and readiness for the next one is very much a part of our life. The new challenge is to utilize the data and then to understand the way to recover from the disaster.”

SOS Mata Atlantica

An estimated 35 million Brazilians don’t have access to clean water.  SOS Mata Atlantica plans to leverage Microsoft’s artificial intelligence technology to improve its clean water initiative. Nearly 3,500 volunteers currently monitor more than 250 rivers throughout the Atlantic Forest, which includes the vast majority of the country’s urban population and its biggest cities. Now, the NGO hopes to evolve from issuing annual reports to sharing more actionable insights – backed by strong data – that could impact public policy and save a precious resource from the ravages of pollution. 

If these stories inspire you, why not take part in the AI for Good challenge?  It’s open for submissions until April 24, 2019.  Take on big issues in agriculture, water, climate, biodiversity, and empowering people with disabilities.  You can also win Azure credits, a Surface book, Nvidia GPU, or Xbox One!  I’m looking forward to seeing what people build.