Energy Department, JAIC, Microsoft Launch AI for First Responders Consortium

The Department of Energy and Microsoft are leading a new consortium using AI to improve the first responder experience based on a prototype from the Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC).

According to an August 18 announcement from the Department of Energy AI and Technology Office (AITO), the First Five Consortium is an industry, government, non-profit, and academia collective formed to support and develop solutions that will improve natural disaster mitigation. The JAIC prototype uses deep learning algorithms to provide near real-term data to first responders and improve decision-making.

“The JAIC’s journey with developing AI solutions for humanitarian relief operations began more than a year ago, and we’d like to thank the White House for identifying and encouraging the broader use of government-built technology to directly benefit the American people when disasters strike,” Nand Mulchandani, Acting Director of JAIC, said. “We are excited to partner with the Department of Energy to transition and scale our humanitarian relief AI solutions through the new First Five initiative that they are leading.”

The First Five Consortium will apply AI and deep learning to areas such as wildfire containment, damage assessments, and search and rescue initiatives. First responders can also submit problems or use cases to the consortium to inspire new AI projects for the group to tackle. The consortium will also explore other tech such as confidential computing, modernized communications, distributed systems, and cybersecurity to improve disaster resilience.

“AITO is proud to lead on getting near real-time information into the hands of our first responders,” Director of AITO Cheryl Ingstad said. “This will allow them to save more lives and protect assets and our nation’s resources. This is just one project of the broader effort, which will include contributions from all our partners, to use technology to improve humanitarian assistance and disaster response in our nation.”

In support of the consortium, Microsoft launched a new critical infrastructure team to advance key functions essential to the nation.

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