For a Human-Centered AI

Microsoft and FBK in the challenge for sustainable growth

November 4, 2020

AI for Earth is Microsoft's international program that has supported people and organizations facing global environmental challenges since 2017, helping to implement projects based on Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft Italy today announces the Alliance for Sustainability, an ecosystem project, in collaboration with growITup (the Open Innovation platform created by Cariplo Factory in partnership with Microsoft Italy), aimed at promoting sustainable growth in Italy through digital, in line with the European plans to relaunch the economies of the member countries and with the National New Green Deal Plan. The initiative translates into a strategic collaboration with companies, the academic world and startups to develop together, through methods of open innovation, new projects capable of facing the most urgent climatic and environmental challenges and spreading a new green culture, leveraging on technological trends and contributing to the sustainable development of the country.

The Alliance for Sustainability is a further piece that adds to Microsoft’s global plan to minimize the environmental impact of its products and activities, investing in new technologies and collaborating with its partners around the world to develop innovative models to support the transition to a sustainable and low-carbon future. This commitment is part of Microsoft’s goal to become carbon negative by 2030 and to remove from the environment, by 2050, all the carbon emitted by the company directly or due to its electricity consumption since its foundation in 1975. To give an example, it has been calculated that Microsoft’s Cloud solutions lead to a 98% reduction in emissions and 93% energy savings compared to on-premise ones.

Microsoft also launched AI for Earth in 2017, an international program that supports organizations and people to face global environmental challenges, helping to implement projects based on Artificial Intelligence in areas such as climate, agriculture, biodiversity and water resources. The Fondazione Bruno Kessler, the Trento Research Institute, one of the first Italian companies to become part of this global program, was present at today’s launch event.

The researchers of the Bruno Kessler Foundation have in fact received a grant from the AI for Earth program to apply AI in the agricultural sector. FBK in particular is working on a new tool based on neural networks and space-time deep learning to obtain models capable of predicting the effect on vegetation of heat waves, an increasingly frequent phenomenon all over the world, which generates significant impacts in agriculture in terms of drought, irrigation and decreased crop yields. Thanks to the computing power of Azure and the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence functionalities integrated in the Microsoft cloud platform, it will be possible to enable the analysis of huge quantities of heterogeneous data in real time and thus create increasingly accurate predictive models able to estimate beforehand the stress level of crops and make crop predictions.


With AI for Earth, Microsoft has supported since launch nearly 500 organizations in more than 95 countries around the world with an investment of $ 50 million over 5 years, also thanks to the provision of tools, services and training.


(original statement from Microsoft Italy)

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