Microsoft sets up AI and IoT hub in Kentucky
June 25, 2019
Microsoft is setting up a regional hub in Louisville, Kentucky, to develop artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and data science, local mayor Greg Fischer announced this month.
“Artificial intelligence is the next frontier in technology and, through this collaboration with Microsoft, we will prepare our workforce for the tech revolution and create economic opportunity, while not losing sight of the need for equity within economic growth,” said Fischer. “We are excited to partner with Microsoft to ensure Louisville residents and businesses are ready for the future economy.”
Louisville will serve as an urban laboratory, and city government plans to work with education, workforce and business partners to strengthen and diversify the city’s core industries, including health care and manufacturing, which face risk of automation from the progression of AI technology. The AI Innovation Digital Alliance with Microsoft, in part, should help companies in vulnerable industries reskill and upskill their workforce to meet the demands of the 21st century economy.
Through the alliance, Microsoft plans to create and fund an AI, IoT and data science fellowship programme, including providing training and equipment. The fellows will work with non-profit, education, start-up and workforce development organisations, and with area businesses to provide training and support aligned with initiatives focused on AI, IoT and data science.
Microsoft aims to establish a physical location downtown and partner with pre-school to higher education providers on digital literacy training and, with Louisville Metro, support the Digital Inclusion initiative to close the digital skills gap present in underinvested and disenfranchised communities.
Louisville Metro, Microsoft and the Brookings Institution will collaborate on a local strategy focused on the impacts of AI, IoT and data science technologies on communities and develop a playbook for how to prepare other communities for the changing economic landscape.
Microsoft says it will support AI-assisted applied research to seek solutions to community problems such as racial disparities in environmental effects on human health and the cultural measures of trust, hope and belonging that impact employee health and talent retention. Microsoft will also support the local entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem through grants and other resources.
Louisville Metro will host a high-level AI, IoT and data science summit in 2020 and at least six other events supported by Microsoft.