The tenor and tone of the recent coverage of AI has focused on the angst of how AI will have a negative impact on society in terms of job loss, societal dislocation, and existential threat to the human race. Any major technology disruption has always been accompanied by concerns. The Industrial Revolution had the Luddites who were a group of English textile workers and weavers in the 19th century who destroyed weaving machinery as a form of protest. Luddites feared that the time spent learning the skills of their craft would go to waste as machines would replace their role in the industry. It is a misconception that the Luddites protested against the machinery itself in an attempt to halt progress of technology. However, the term has come to mean one opposed to industrialisation, automation, computerization or new technologies in general.
This concern is understandable, but it’s important to not lose sight of the broader context and consider both the costs and the benefits, rather than just the costs, of any new technology. For example, for the Industrial Revolution the costs were pollution and working conditions, but the benefits were the creation of a middle class, increases in productivity, and the wider availability of new goods and services.
At CrowdFlower we believe in the power of AI to bring about positive change in the world. Whether it’s improving the way we can identify different forms of cancer earlier or more reliably, or make transportation safer, or deepen our understanding about our world to improve daily conditions for billions of people around the globe. So today we announced the CrowdFlower $1 million “AI for Everyone” Challenge. Over the next year we shall make make 8 awards to organizations or individuals solving important problems with AI. Each award is $150,000 in value of CrowdFlower’s products and services including access to CrowdFlower AI powered by Microsoft Azure Machine Learning.
We’re looking for individuals or organizations with a bold vision for how AI can make a positive impact in the world. If you’re an academic researcher, social entrepreneur or AI pioneer with a big idea but are constrained by resources, then apply here. The first round of winners will be notified no later than July 15th, 2017.