Future Trends

Energy Department, Microsoft Launch Consortium for First Responder AI Technologies

Department of Energy

Energy Department, Microsoft Launch Consortium for First Responder AI Technologies

The Department of Energy's newly formed Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office has partnered with Microsoft to establish a consortium for creating AI-powered tools to help first responders. 

The First Five Consortium was created to have government, industry, academic and nonprofit players share their insights, develop code and release technologies for humanitarian, disaster response and relief efforts, Nextgov reported Tuesday.

“There are just so many technologies where we can solve some of the toughest problems—at a time and in a moment where we're having an explosion of wildfires and floods and some really major natural disasters," AITO Director Cheryl Ingstad said regarding AI's potential.

So far, the consortium has attracted 10 partners: ESRI, AT&T, Hangar Alpha, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Pacific Disaster Center, Texas A&M, Berkeley AI Laboratory–Computer Vision, First Net Authority, the Department of Defense and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Organizations interested in joining the effort may sign up via the First Five Portal, which also serves as a platform for the first responder community to share response-related use cases for AI.

Susie Adams, chief technology officer of Microsoft's federal arm, told Nextgov that first responders could eventually combine their own education with new AI capabilities that she said will allow for better data analyses. 

“It really is a gamechanger compared to how people are looking at information today,” Adams said. 

The consortium was first hinted at in an executive forum on humanitarian assistance and disaster response hosted by Chris Liddell, the White House's deputy chief of staff for policy coordination. Energy has since worked to create new opportunities in the disaster response sector.

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Tags: artificial intelligence AT&T BAIR-CV Cheryl Ingstad Chris Liddell cloud deep learning Department of Defense Energy Department ESRI First Five Consortium First Net Authority first responder Future Trends Hangar Alpha Joint Artificial Intelligence Center Microsoft National Guard National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Nextgov Pacific Disaster Center Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Susie Adams Texas A&M