Breaking News: USAID Launches $4.1 Million Artificial Intelligence Initiative

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Washington, D.C. – For Immediate Release, April 1, 2019: Today the United States Agency for International Development launches a groundbreaking initiative to harness the power of artificial intelligence to improve the lives of poor and marginalized people around the world in a unique partnership with leading technology companies.
The USAID Journey to Self-Awareness Initiative
With a $4.1 million investment, USAID is realigning its policies, strategies, programs, and investments to support partner countries on their Journey to Self-Awareness.
“USAID should work towards the day when human assistance is no longer necessary,“ said USAID Administrator Mark Green. “Each country must lead its own technology journey by implementing artificial intelligence solutions that reach self-awareness and solve development challenges automagically.”
USAID is partnering with Alphabet® (the parent company of Google), Apple® (the parent company of the iPhone), and Amazon® (the parent company of everything else), to ensure that humans are no longer needed to provide international assistance.
The Journey to Self-Awareness Initiative will leverage three innovative machine learning innovations to foster stable, resilient, prosperous, inclusive, and self-aware computing systems for our partners around the world, our nation’s security, and the American taxpayer.
Ask Siri Natural Language Processing of Development Problems
USAID and its implementing partners will leverage Apple’s unique natural language processing capacity that’s now found in the hands of 1.3 billion people worldwide. Siri, the intelligent assistant on all Apple devices, already answers over 10 billion audio requests every month.
In the new Ask Siri About Development program, led by Dr. David Bowman, poor development workers can now ask Siri how to phrase their development challenges in fluent aid-speak so that needed assistance can be automatically directed to resolve their issue.
For example, unpaid interns can ask Siri:

Amazon Air Automated Drone Delivery of Humanitarian Solutions
USAID and its implementing partners will then access Amazon’s automated global shipping infrastructure. At $26 billion, Amazon spends almost half of USAID’s total $48 billion annual budget just on moving everything from KinderPerfect to coyote urine to needy consumers.
In the Amazon Air Automated Drone Delivery process, led by Rachael Tyrell, the hard “last mile” of development work will be leapfrogged by Amazon’s private airline, Prime vans, Scout sidewalk robots, and Prime Air drones that can deliver needed supplies directly to the outstretched hands of project beneficiaries – in two days or less.
“I know this sounds like science fiction. It’s not,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO. “We can do half-hour vaccine delivery in Vanuatu, and we can carry objects up to five pounds in Rwanda, which covers 86 percent of the items that USAID delivers.”
Google Lens Visual Image Recognition of Programmatic Impact
USAID and its implementing partners will then utilize Google’s unrivaled Cloud Vision visual image recognition system that utilizes machine learning and Neural Architecture Search technology to segment and identify visual artifacts exponentially faster than the human eye.
The Google Lens Monitoring & Evaluation program, led by Chap Pie, will give key stakeholders the power to use Android devices to confirm programmatic impact of USAID’s investments, including:

  • Image labeling  – the ability to tag contents of images, such as a well-trained, motivated, and paid teacher in a school, using a simple smartphone camera.
  • Face and logo detection  – the capacity to detect the number of smiling children in a classroom or the USAID logo on all applicable commodities.
  • Optical character recognition – the  aptitude to read any visible text to ensure that all verbiage clearly communicates that USAID assistance is From the American People

Measuring Journey to Self-Awareness Progress
USAID is committed to the day when human assistance is no longer necessary for development, and will be measuring its JSA Initiative by how far every one of its investments moves us closer to that judgement day.
Working with Cyberdyne Systems, USAID has identified 17 best-in-class metrics to measure a country’s level of technology self-awareness, including: open and accountable AI governance; inclusive software development; economic robotics policy; and the relative capacities of hardware, software, and wetware.
Please join USAID in this new initiative that builds on years of innovative innovation.
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