MVP Assists Not-For-Profit With Microsoft AI
Published Nov 05 2020 01:01 PM 1,903 Views
Bronze Contributor

It is tough to understate the potential of AI.


Silicon Valley CEOs predict the technology will have an even greater impact than the internet revolution, calling it the biggest trend of the last 30 years while heralding its ability to make medical diagnoses, operate electronic trading platforms, offer remote sensing, and much more.


On the other hand, however, Canadian AI MVP Rahat Yasir points out that many remain apprehensive about the technology’s potential side effects, like job loss, bias, data breaches, and discrimination.


“Unfortunately, we still hear a lot of myths and negative perspectives about AI these days,” Rahat says. “As an individual who is working in this domain for years, I always try to provide unbiased information to our community about AI and educate as many people as possible.”


Through his work in solving a not-for-profit’s challenge of testing thousands of cosmetic products in Quebec, Canada, Rahat is hopeful to demonstrate the good in AI. 


Within Canada, ingredients in cosmetics are not reviewed for safety before they are put on the shelves, and nor are producers required to display warnings for toxicity. 


While the chemical content of beauty products is displayed on packaging, the average consumer still struggles to decipher the scientific language used by products. 


Protégez-Vous! (Protect Yourself!) is a non-profit organization that performs rigorous tests, studies, and surveys on thousands of products sold in the province of Quebec. Before AI, freelancers and internal community users manually collected product information and ingredient lists. Armed with AI, however, the process is automated.


The not-for-profit teamed up with Osedea AI to leverage Microsoft AI technologies like ink recognition, custom object detection, text analytics, OCR, and translation. From a single photo of the product packaging, the AI solution recognizes the language and converts the ingredients list into text.


“This automates the entire process of data collection for community users, with it only taking a  few seconds of photo capturing of different products to complete the new data collection process,” says Rahat, who serves as the Lead AI Developer at Osedea AI.


“Often developing AI integrated applications are time-consuming and expensive because of a lack of training data, computational resources, and enough financial assistance,” Rahat says. 


“Microsoft AI services helped us to deliver quick product development for Protégez-Vous which is currently used by internal users and getting ready to launch with general customers early next year.”


It is an application like this which makes Rahat optimistic about the future of AI. Last month, Rahat delivered the keynote address of MTL Connecte about AI for safety, security, and a better future. 


“AI is saving lives, creating more jobs, increasing productivity, and saving time by bringing automation -- and I’m always encouraging everyone to learn about AI technologies and be up to date!”


Rahat, who has served for the past six years as an MVP, says he enjoys sharing his knowledge and contributing to the community by mentoring others and giving feedback to Microsoft product groups. “I am badly missing in-person events and MVP Summit, but I am always in touch with MVPs through online events, social media, online forums,” Rahat says.

For more, read the case study with Protégez-Vous! 

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