Google is already using artificial intelligence to study floods, famine, and whales. Now, the Web giant wants to use AI in other ways that could benefit society.

As part of a $25 million AI Impact Challenge, announced Monday, Google is seeking proposals from nonprofits, academics, and social enterprises around the world on how they could use AI to solve social, humanitarian, and environmental problems. Selected organizations will receive grant funding, as well as coaching from Google's AI experts to bring their ideas to fruition.

"We're looking for projects across a range of social impact domains and levels of technical expertise, from organizations that are experienced in AI to those with an idea for how they could be putting their data to better use," Google wrote.

Google is accepting applications until Jan. 22. After that, the company will review the proposals alongside a panel of computer science and social experts and announce grant recipients next spring.

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To help organizations understand how they may be able to leverage AI to further their missions, Google has created this guide, which offers an overview of the technology and how it's being used to solve problems today. The search giant recommends starting with the Introduction to Machine Learning Problem Framing course if you're new to AI.

As part of one effort currently underway, Google is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to use AI to help monitor humpback whale populations. Since 2005, the NOAA has recorded more than 170,000 hours of underwater audio from 12 different sites in the Pacific Ocean, Google AI Product Manager Julie Cattiau wrote in a Monday blog post. Now, Google has trained a deep neural network to listen to those underwater recordings and pick out humpback whale songs.

"Now that we can find and identify humpback whales in recordings, it allows us to understand where they are and where they are going," Cattiau wrote. "This could … help directly protect whales by advising vessels to modify their routes when a lot of whales are present in a certain area."

Meanwhile, Google isn't the only company funding AI projects that benefit society. Just last month, Microsoft launched a $40 million, five-year program to help nongovernmental and humanitarian organizations use AI to address natural disasters, famine, and other crises.

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