The Latest: Microsoft to spend $25M on AI for disabilities

The Latest on Microsoft’s developers’ conference (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

Microsoft is launching a $25 million initiative to use artificial intelligence to build better technology for people with disabilities.

CEO Satya Nadella is announcing the new “AI for Accessibility” effort at Microsoft’s annual conference for software developers. The three-day Build conference kicks off Monday in Seattle.

The five-year initiative will include seed grants for startups, nonprofit organizations and academic researchers, as well as deeper investments and expertise from Microsoft researchers.

Microsoft says the company hopes to empower people by accelerating the development of AI tools that provide them with more opportunities for independence and employment.

Microsoft has already experimented with its own accessibility tools, such as a “Seeing AI” free smartphone app using computer vision and narration to help people navigate. Microsoft’s translation tool also offers real-time captioning of conversations.

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3 a.m.

Microsoft’s annual Build conference for software developers kicks off on Monday, giving the company an opportunity to offer updates on its computing platforms and services.

The three-day event in Seattle features sessions on cloud computing, artificial intelligence, internet-connected devices and virtual reality. It comes as Microsoft faces off with Amazon and Google to offer internet-connected services to businesses and organizations.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will speak Monday to more than 6,000 people, mostly developers who build apps for Microsoft’s products.

Facebook had its F8 developers’ gathering last week. Google’s I/O conference begins Tuesday. Apple’s takes place in early June.

This is the second year in a row that Microsoft has held its conference in Seattle, not far from its Redmond, Washington headquarters.