Microsoft is making a push to preserve important aspects of cultural heritage around the globe, including languages, historic places and artifacts. And it is deploying artificial intelligence to make that happen.
Microsoft today committed $10 million over five years for a new initiative called AI for Cultural Heritage. The tech giant pledged to work with nonprofits, universities and governments around the world to help preserve important cultural touchstones.
Microsoft didn’t give specific examples of projects the initiative might focus on, but it did point to some recent work that it will look to build on. Microsoft has worked with museums in France and New York to make their collections more accessible to people around the globe. The tech giant teamed up with Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo in Mexico to capture and translate Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi using AI.
“As we have learned more about the dimensions that make up cultural heritage, we’ve concluded that preserving cultural heritage isn’t something that is solely nice to have or nice to do, it’s sometimes imperative to the well-being of the world’s societies,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post detailing the new initiative.
The pledge is the latest pillar of Microsoft’s AI for Good campaign, a $125 million commitment over five years to use artificial intelligence for important causes. The cultural heritage effort is the fourth leg of the program so far, following the introduction of the AI for Earth, AI for Accessibility and AI for Humanitarian Action programs.