AI at Google

How AI at Google is Changing the World

July 26, 2022 - Emily Newton

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Developments in AI at Google are helping to change the world in dozens of ways. Google has been leading the way in artificial intelligence research and development for years. From open source machine learning libraries to supporting climate change research, AI at Google is truly changing the world. 

AI at Google: Beyond Search Results

When most people think of Google, they think of the Google search engine. Early development of AI at Google was, and continues to be, centered around improving their search engine technology. Consumer products and tools like Google Maps, Google translate, and Google Assistant are also the result of their AI research. 

However, Google also conducts AI research and development for numerous other projects. Additionally, outside experts and researchers use Google’s AI tools and support to develop their own world-changing projects and tools. Google even ran a special program called the AI Impact Challenge in 2018 and 2019. The program awarded grants to businesses or researchers that are using Google’s AI technology for good causes.

From financial support to R&D, these are the most inspiring ways that Google is changing the world with AI. 

Education and Career

AI at Google has been used for a wide range of educational and career development applications. The importance of education cannot be understated today. Industry 4.0 is completely changing the skills that people will need in the workplace, especially for entry-level positions. In fact, AI is already making its way into classrooms in numerous applications. Google’s AI programs help students, educators, parents, and job seekers in a variety of ways. 

For example, Google selected multiple education and career grantees for their 2018 AI Impact Challenge. One grantee, Quill.org, uses AI and machine learning to help students develop strong writing skills using free, accessible online tools. Google also supports TalkingPoints, a non-profit organization that uses AI to allow parents and teachers to communicate with each other in different languages. This helps families that do not speak English as a first language to build stronger relationships with teachers and better support their children’s education. 

Another Google AI Impact Challenge grantee, SkillLab, uses AI to help refugees in Europe find jobs. The SkillLabs application uses AI to bridge the gap between different languages in the hiring process. With the help of the app, refugees can more easily communicate what their skills and experience are. This allows them to work with recruiters and hiring managers despite language barriers. 

Google also opens up its wealth of AI knowledge to the public, helping to promote AI education and training. They offer free courses and resources on AI anyone can utilize. Even more importantly, Google has an open-source AI library called TensorFlow that has helped millions of AI projects get off the ground. TensorFlow makes AI more accessible, opening the door for anyone to use AI to help their community. Students can even use TensorFlow to learn how to build their own AI and machine learning apps. 

Climate Support and Research

Google is supporting and leading numerous projects that are applying artificial intelligence to climate change. These projects use the Google’s AI resources to support real communities and people that are feeling the impact of climate change around the world. 

For example, an in-house project at Google uses AI to improve weather prediction. Accurate and timely weather forecasting is crucial for businesses in numerous critical industries, including agriculture. Google’s AI weather projects include precise local forecasting and AI flood prediction algorithms. Rapid and accessible flood warnings could help save lives in areas experiencing more frequent flooding due to climate change. 

AI at Google is also being applied to help farmers adapt to changing natural threats. Agriculture is arguably the most important industry on the planet. With the help of AI, farmers can continue providing food for their communities and the entire planet, even with the threat of climate change, shifting weather patterns, and pests. One developer in Uganda used Google’s TensorFlow platform to create an AI Android app for farmers in Africa to use to identify and treat diseases in their crops. The app is helping to save entire families, farms, communities, and even supply chains. 

Grantees from Google AI Impact Challenge are also using AI to change with the help of Google. For example, Makerere University in Uganda is using AI to monitor and reduce urban air pollution, particularly in low-income cities. Fellow AI Impact Challenge grantee Rainforest Connection uses deep learning AI to detect and prevent illegal deforestation activity in the world’s rainforests. Both of these projects, supported by the experts at Google, help to protect and heal ecosystems and communities as the world faces a growing climate crisis. 

Medicine and Healthcare

Google’s innovations and investments in AI have contributed to numerous medical applications. In the years ahead, they will contribute to even more groundbreaking developments. For example, at the 2022 Google Health event, Google announced updates on multiple medical AI projects in progress. One project, ARDA, uses cameras, deep learning, and computer vision to screen diabetes patients for diabetes-related eye diseases. This technology could be used to prevent diabetes-related blindness all over the world. ARDA may also be able to detect warning signs of cardiovascular disease, possibly even with everyday smartphone cameras one day. 

Similarly, AI at Google is being applied to ultrasound technology. Ultrasounds are crucial to maternal and prenatal healthcare. However, many healthcare providers in lower income countries are unable to provide them due to lack of expertise. So, Google is conducting open-access research on the use of machine learning in conducting and assessing ultrasounds. If the process could be at least partially automated with AI, more healthcare providers around the world could offer ultrasound, improving maternal and birthing care. 

In the 2018 AI Impact Challenge, Google also partnered with La Fondation Médecins Sans Frontières in France. The MSF Foundation used AI to develop a free AI smartphone app that helps doctors all over the world prescribe the right antibiotics for patients suffering from antimicrobial resistance. This AI diagnostic test app could save potentially tens of millions of lives per year by giving doctors easy and affordable access to accurate testing tools. 

Social and Societal Good

AI at Google is also supporting an extensive array of applications for social and societal good. These AI applications change the world by improving people’s everyday lives and helping to support good societal practices. 

Inclusive Communication

For example, through the AI Impact Challenge, Google supported a Brazilian company called HandTalk that uses AI to translate between Portuguese and sign language, reducing language barriers for people who require sign language to communicate. 

Google’s in-house researchers are developing a project called Euphonia, which is training speech recognition AI models to better understand people with atypical speech patterns. This includes people with conditions like speech impediments, deafness, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, as well as those who have suffered from ALS, stroke, or a traumatic brain injury. 

By recording hundreds of speech samples from people with various atypical speech patterns, AI at Google can be better trained to understand these people, allowing organizations and developers to create more inclusive apps, algorithms, and products. 

Mapping the World

One Google research software engineer, Abigail Annkah, is spearheading an AI at Google’s Accra, Ghana research center on a project called Open Buildings. This project is using satellite imagery and computer vision to improve building mapping throughout Africa. 

By using AI to improve maps of the African continent, nations and communities can have better population planning, vaccine distribution, humanitarian services, and knowledge of the surrounding environment. Researchers, developers, and community leaders could apply the Open Buildings AI model in other parts of the world, as well. 

Supporting Mental Health Services

In the US, Google supported an organization called Crisis Text Line, Inc. in the 2018 AI Impact Challenge. This organization uses AI natural language processing to help people who are in crisis, getting them connected to counselors and providing assistance and guidance for free. Crisis Text Line receives over 100 million messages every day, though. With the help of AI, they are able to reduce the critical time that people have to wait to talk to a counselor. Google’s support helps Crisis Text Line save lives every day. 

AI at Google: Helping People and the Planet

AI at Google is changing the world everyday in countless ways. The research and development in artificial intelligence conducted at Google has spearheaded the entire field. Google’s open-source AI platform, TensorFlow, is opening the door for anyone to use AI for good. Through the AI Impact Challenge, Google is providing support for global leaders using AI to save and improve the lives of millions. From making everyday life easier to curing critical diseases and healing the environment, AI at Google is truly making the world a better place.

Revolutionized is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn more here.

Author

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a technology and industrial journalist and the Editor in Chief of Revolutionized. She enjoys reading and writing about how technology is changing the world around us.

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