6 nonprofits shaping AI policy in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America

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:

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.

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