AI For the Environment

Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence” by mikemacmarketing is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Our digital world today is characterized in big part by artificial intelligence (AI), or the idea of intelligent machines being able to perform tasks that humans can’t directly do. AI is definitely not new; it started more than half a century ago. Scientists devised simple symbolic systems that describe how humans think. They coined the term “artificial neural networks” which are networks of nodes called artificial neurons in which one neuron passes information to another, similar to the biological neural networks in our brains. These networks can be used to predict values or make decisions. If trained with enough data, they can learn to identify patterns and accurately distinguish between shapes, numbers, objects, and animals. Artificial neurons can be activated (have a major influence on the end result) or deactivated (are irrelevant to the end result), and each neuron’s activation can help determine the end result. Their activations are changed continuously during training until a particular combination of activations results in a highly accurate prediction. 

There exist several AI algorithms to do such things, and they are improving in accuracy and adaptability day by day because of a gradually increasing access to data. In the past, we never really had the ability to collect abundant data, hampering our ability to analyze phenomena and make evident assertions. Nowadays, with so much data, the ideas of AI have manifested into reality, helping aid developments in domains such as environmental science. For example, AI can be used to model and predict carbon emissions in our world today using a variety of energy production and consumption rates or model dangerous increases in average global temperature using different climate factors. AI-powered self-driving cars can help reduce emissions by 50%. AI can be used to analyze graphical data taken from weather stations and satellites and better predict severe weather conditions. AI can even help remove CO2, develop greener networks of transportation, and control deforestation rates throughout the world. Evidently, we can take giant steps toward combating such global issues through AI!


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