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Esri joins with Microsoft in embracing artificial intelligence
Source: Fielding Buck

Microsoft scientist Lucas Jaffa addresses Esri’s User Conference in San Diego.

Redlands tech company is a part of a huge artificial intelligence initiative announced this week by Microsoft.

Esri and Microsoft are collaborating on grants to make their resources available to conservationists to process data from wetlands and other endangered locations, according to a news release.

Esri is wrapping up its annual User Conference in San Diego, which attracts leading tech companies from around the world, especially those that deal with mapping. Esri’s specialty is geographic information systems, finding ways to combine data and maps to reveal trends to planners in government, business and nonprofits.

AI can do that “on the fly,” Lucas Joppa a, lead research scientist for Microsoft, told thousands of User Conference attendees.

“Humans and computers working together though increasingly intelligent algorithms can dramatically change the way that we as a society respond to some of our greatest challenges.”

Joppa said that for a year Microsoft, Esri and the Chesapeake Conservancy have been training computers to create land cover maps of the Chesapeake watershed.

“The real power of this approach is that we can use the same algorithm to classify land cover in places that it’s never seen before.”

Joppa’s Esri presentation preceded a Microsoft media event on Wednesday in London, at which it announced a program called AI for Earth, which “builds on Microsoft’s commitment to use AI technology to amplify human ingenuity and advance sustainability around the globe.”

Microsoft also announced the formation of an incubation hub called Microsoft Research AI on Wednesday at a media event. It will have a team of 100 scientists and engineers.


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