How 12 organisations are using AI for good

At the launch of this year's AI for Good Accelerator Programme at the Microsoft Reactor in London earlier this month, I heard about the incredible tech ideas the initiative has been helping to develop. 

What is the AI for Good Programme?

The Programme - designed and delivered by Microsoft, Microsoft for Startups and Social Tech Trust - sees a group of purpose-driven organisations take part in a four-month programme of tasks, training and events, which guide and inspire them to use AI for greater social impact. The organisations use technology to take on challenging societal issues across the areas of environmental sustainability, accessibility, humanitarian action and cultural heritage. 

As well as support and technology, the 12 organisations in this year's programme will also be given space to run their business in the Microsoft for Startups office in Shoreditch, London.

What is the goal of the programme?

Microsoft's aims for the programme are to:

  • Give purpose-driven ventures the commercial, technical and social impact support they need to create the future they want to see.
  • Make an impact in environmental sustainability, accessibility, humanitarian action and cultural heritage by taking AI solutions in these areas to the next level, advancing and embedding the use of ethical and human design principles in their design.
  • Help participants build a repeatable and scalable business enabling a successful, scalable model to their identified target markets.
  • Create a platform for AI for Good leadership.

The 12 AI for Good organisations 2020:

Good Boost laptop by swimming poolHere's a round up of this year's cohort, with a brief explanation of what they do:

  • Akari Solutions - change management and customised IP applications around core Microsoft products to create inclusivity and accessibility.
  • Baobab Connect - a platform that connects legal professionals to people with legal or justice issues.
  • BeneTalk - wearable AI speech therapist app, like a Fitbit for speech.
  • Chatterbox - online language learning for professionals and organisations, powered by refugee talent.
  • EcoSync - cloud based platform helping commercial buildings to stop heating empty rooms.
  • Good Boost - transforms public swimming pools into therapy spaces for the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions through AI powered clinical software on waterproof tablets (pictured).
  • Hello Lamp Post - encourages people to engage in playful, text based conversations with street objects using their mobile phones, to help city decision makers better understand their citizens.
  • Miicare - uses AI, and hardware called the 'Miicube' to keep older people safe, active and connected with family and friends.
  • MyCognition - tracks, treats and prevents poor mental health through a cognitive assessment and training platform.
  • OrxaGrid - provides accurate and secure analytics to suggest efficiency improvements for energy networks.
  • Recycleeye - a low cost, digital and fully automated waste sorting solution.
  • Signly - browser extension that allows organisations and to add sign language to their websites.

Standout initiatives

One of this year's cohort is Good Boost, which was a finalist in AbilityNet's Tech 4 Good Awards in 2019, in the Ageing Society category. Good Boost aims to help prevent and manage MSK (musculoskeletal) conditions through a digital rehabilitation app via an AI personalised water-based rehab exercise. See Good Boost technology in action:

Other standout initiatives included MyCognition, which measures and monitors mental health and performance and provides personalised training via an app to enhance cognitive fitness. 

Another innovative initiative is Hello Lamp Post, which is a public engagement platform that allows users to talk to street furniture via text messages to learn more about a city and contribute feedback to city decision makers. It helps to foster community, provide directions around a city, and contributes to public conversation.

Find out more about the AI for Good 2020 programme on the Microsoft website.

Further resources