There is no shortage of media coverage of AI’s potential dark side. I write about how to adopt AI responsibly, a topic critical to unlocking the full potential of this transformational technology. But comparatively little ink has been spilled on the organizations using AI as a force for good today. In celebration of Artificial Intelligence Appreciation Day (yes, that’s a thing), here are some of the most interesting and impactful applications we’ve seen in recent years, including:

  • AI for conservation. Organizations are using computer vision and even audio recognition to detect elusive endangered species and in some cases poachers, as well. Synthetaic specializes in building models for situations where real image data is scarce to help organizations such as Save the Elephants protect wildlife by automatically detecting these animals and those who would do them harm.
  • AI for humanitarianism. Human rights organizations seek to document war crimes and other atrocities carried out in conflict areas, but they are often inundated with massive numbers of images and videos to review. Computer vision allows them to scale their efforts. In Yemen, for example, VFRAME and its partners poured through nearly 6 billion frames of video footage to demonstrate the usage of BLU-63s — a cluster munition banned in more than 100 countries.
  • AI for safety. A variety of AI technologies are rapidly improving the safety of workplace environments, leveraging real-time sensor data to detect potential hazards and suggest safety measures proactively. Machine olfaction, or e-noses, can help detect hazardous substances in industrial settings to provide early warnings. Augmented-reality wearables can offer workers a wide range of benefits, such as better training and notification of dangerous areas on job sites. Safety AI isn’t just limited to the workplace; companies like Datagen are developing advanced driver monitoring systems to detect tired or distracted driving.
  • AI for accessibility. Accessibility use cases are exploding with the newfound prominence of generative AI. Transcription services, image captioning, alternative text (508 compliance), transcription and translation, and text-to-speech services are all easier than ever before to carry out automatically. Generative AI also enables previously impossible applications such as synthetic signers from Signapse, which allows any information to be converted into sign language videos for hearing-impaired individuals.

So let’s use AI Appreciation Day as a moment to reflect on the ways that AI is already benefiting us and to hopefully inspire us to dream up new ways it can benefit us in the future.