The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation will double its investments in data science and AI grants in 2021 to $40 million. The foundation is also introducing initiatives to promote the responsible and inclusive use of data and AI.
“We sit at the frontier of the digital age with a set of choices about the future of these powerful tools,” said foundation president Vilas Dhar. “Will it be a future where control remains in the hands of a few to benefit the elite? Or a future where we all participate in the co-creation of AI and data that solves our greatest global challenges and makes our individual lives better?”
The foundation’s 2021 commitments are intended to empower civil society to fully participate in shaping the future so that the benefits of AI and data are shared by all. The three-pillar commitment from the foundation, which is named for the late founder of IDG, includes:
- A $40 million commitment to AI and data science for “public good,” enabling nonprofits and non-governmental organizations to leverage AI and data to further work in environmental protection, foster economic prosperity, strengthen tech education opportunities for young people, and create a more inclusive, equitable tech workforce. Grants also will be directed toward organizations designing new approaches to data dignity, data stewardship, and AI ethics.
- A new data and AI services consultancy for nonprofits, to be launched this spring. The foundation’s in-house team of data and AI experts will work with nonprofit organizations on data maturity and infrastructure and creation of exemplar cases of AI for public good.
- Fostering an inclusive tech, data, and AI ecosystem. Through collaboration with organizations including Oxford, MIT, and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, the foundation will catalyze efforts to bring stakeholders together, elevate diverse perspectives on AI’s future, and inspire young technologists to pursue tech for public good. A key focus will be including marginalized voices to ensure that the development of AI benefits everyone.
The foundation also is announcing support for the World Economic Forum Global AI Action Alliance, with Dhar co-chairing this alliance of more than 100 leading companies, governments, international organizations, and academics.