Microsoft Makes Louisville Test Hub for AI Training, Integration

Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, will be the latest regional hub for Microsoft in its AI advance, with plans to open a center that focuses on AI, IoT and data science. The city will gain an edge in the tech race to build an AI workforce.

According to a story in the city’s, Louisville will be an “urban laboratory” in which integration of technologies in the schools, medical industry and manufacturing will be a priority. Jennifer Byrne, chief technology officer at Microsoft US, called Louisville a “pilot city” in the partnership.

“Task hours for jobs are going to be provided more by computing than by people in the future and that creates space for human potential,” Byrne said. “But it also means that we have to get ready for what the future holds for us.” pointed out in its story on the new Microsoft hub that Louisville was chosen because 28% of its jobs are at risk of being lost because of automation.

“On behalf of Microsoft, Byrne signed a three-year agreement with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer at the launch event in Louisville,” the story explained. “The first order of business will be to award fellowships this summer to four citizens who want to become subject matter experts in AI, the internet of things and data science.”

Louisville skyline (credit: Wikimedia)

The AI Innovation Digital Alliance with Microsoft is expected to help the city “reskill and upskill” their workforce to meet the changing demands of the 21st-century economy, including veterans and workers in industries that are shifting to a robotic workforce. Microsoft will also host programs like DigiCamps, YouthSpark, Hack-a-thons and digital literacy workshops.

“For the larger benefit of the economy you have to teach people how to use technology and that has to start at a very young age and has to continue all the way through the life cycle of the workforce,” Byrne said.

A story on, a Louisville news station, listed several benefits of the regional center, including a collaboration between Louisville Metro, Microsoft and the Brookings Institution on a comprehensive local strategy and a playbook for how to prepare other communities for the changing economic landscape. Also, Microsoft will support AI-assisted research to address racial disparities in environmental effects on health. Grants and other resources will support local entrepreneurs.
Microsoft will host a high-level AI, IoT and data science summit in 2020, along with at least six other events.

Corporate partners in the efforts include Humana StudioH, GE Appliances/FirstBuild, Louisville Healthcare CEO Council and Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP).