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Microsoft AI for Social Impact Programme

Podium joins purpose-driven programme that seeks to solve some of the world's biggest challenges through AI and technology

Podium Analytics has been working with Microsoft and the Social Tech Trust as part of the Microsoft AI for Social Impact Programme, a programme that seeks to solve some of the world's biggest challenges using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology.

Podium Analytics, along with twelve other purpose-driven enterprises, worked with Microsoft and the Social Tech Trust over several months to expedite progress in technology development. For Podium, the emphasis was on using Microsoft technology and expertise to accelerate our ambitions of incorporating AI and machine learning (ML) into the Podium Digital Platform. The Podium platform is gradually incorporating the latest capabilities in the fields of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Conversational AI, including text analytics, speech recognition, speech synthesis, language understanding, and chatbots, in order to create the best possible description of an injury from the people involved. 

We are also working on the analysis of unstructured data that we collect, such as video footage of injury incidents. We are training machine learning algorithms to interpret what is happening in video clips, possibly detecting injury events and the data involved, such as when a player is hit on the head with a ball, the speed of the ball and the angle of incidence.

Microsoft also engaged with us on the area of Topic Modelling, a branch of statistical modelling used to discover the abstract topics and themes that occur in collections of unstructured data such as documents. This is of particular interest as we trawl the back catalogue of hundreds of thousands of academic research papers on medicine and sports-related injury, to build on existing wisdom, and seek out applications of research into elite sports that may have promise in youth and recreational sport.

Microsoft is seeking to democratise access to these sophisticated technologies and have invested in Podium's ability to deliver effectively, quickly, and responsibly by funding Podium's use of the technology itself through credits, as well as providing us with the time and attention of leaders in their particular disciplines within the fields of AI, ML and statistical analysis.

Working with the other twelve ventures in the programme has provided invaluable opportunities for sharing learnings and best practice, across fields as diverse as dentistry, cancer detection, and sustainable fishing.

It has been a perfect example of the alignment of three organisations really delivering on their purposes: Podium's to build a safer world of sport; Microsoft's to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more; and Social Tech Trust's to transform lives with tech.

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