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AI For Good Lab

About the book

People around the world face significant problems that require creative and innovative solutions. New technologies often form the foundation of those solutions, offering fresh capabilities that promise to make short work of stubborn issues. One of these categories of tech, however, is having an even greater impact than most others: artificial intelligence.

In the book, you’ll explore the work of Microsoft’s philanthropic Al for Good Lab, which tackles global issues using methods that can be replicated and reapplied by other social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and volunteers.

All sales profits go to support the American Red Cross.

“AI offers more potential for the good of humanity than any invention that preceded it. After reading this book, I hope you’ll share my optimism for the possibilities of this powerful new technology.”

— Brad Smith, Vice Chair & President of Microsoft

Excerpt from the book

The intent of this book is different from the many texts that aim to teach the fundamentals of artificial intelligence. By sharing real-world examples of how artificial intelligence and advanced data science methods can be applied for good, we seek to inspire the reader to envision new possibilities for impactful change. We want our work to engage readers by exploring pressing questions, igniting a broader conversation about ethically redirecting our technological capabilities for the greater good, and showing that it can be done. 

The smartphones we carry in our pockets surpass the computing power that once sent astronauts to the moon. With artificial intelligence and data at our fingertips, we now have the tools to address the world’s most pressing problems. We no longer have excuses.

About the authors

Juan Lavista Ferres

Juan M. Lavista Ferres, PhD, MS 
Microsoft CVP and Chief Data Scientist 
Director of Microsoft AI for Good Lab

In his role, Juan leads a team of data scientists and researchers who specialize in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and statistical modeling. He is responsible for contributing to Microsoft’s AI For Good initiatives, which focus on areas such as sustainability, humanitarian action, accessibility, and health. Juan co-founded the AI for Good Lab in 2018 and since then, he and his team have undertaken over 200 projects worldwide. The lab collaborates with prominent organizations like the United Nations, American Red Cross, The Nature Conservancy Group, PATH, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Harvard University, Stanford University, and Johns Hopkins University, consistently using AI for the betterment of humanity. Under Juan’s leadership, the AI For Good Lab has gained global renown with branches in Redmond, New York, and Nairobi. The lab’s contributions have been published in top academic journals and conferences, including Nature Communications, JAMA Ophthalmology, and Scientific Reports. Their work has also been featured in prominent media outlets worldwide. 

Juan holds two computer science degrees from the Catholic University in Uruguay, a graduate degree in Data Mining and Machine Learning from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. with a focus on AI in healthcare from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

William (Bill) Weeks

William B. Weeks, MD, PhD, MBA 
Director of AI for Health Research 
Microsoft, AI for Good Lab 

Bill leads Microsoft’s philanthropic AI for Health efforts, conducting research in collaboration with not-for-profit organizations, medical and academic centers. His research aims to improve health and health outcomes by applying artificial intelligence techniques in the areas of computer vision, public health, and large language modeling. The AI for Health program partners with grantees on projects that accelerate medical research, build research capabilities, increase global health insights, and address health inequities.  

Dr. Weeks obtained his MD from the University of Texas Medical Branch, his PhD in economics from Aix-Marseille University, and his MBA from Columbia University. He completed a residency in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, and he is board certified in both. Dr. Weeks has published a book and over 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts, examining economic and business aspects of healthcare services utilization and delivery, healthcare delivery science, social determinants of health, population health, and healthcare value. He has received several honors and awards for his work, including the National Rural Health Association Outstanding Researcher Award and the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair at Aix-Marseille University.