Rolnick, David, Donti, Priya L., Kaack, Lynn H., Kochanski, Kelly, Lacoste, Alexandre, Sankaran, Kris, Ross, Andrew Slavin, Milojevic-Dupont, Nikola, Jaques, Natasha, Waldman-Brown, Anna, Luccioni, Alexandra, Maharaj, Tegan, Sherwin, Evan D., Mukkavilli, S. Karthik, Kording, Konrad P., Gomes, Carla, Ng, Andrew Y., Hassabis, Demis, Platt, John C., Creutzig, Felix, Chayes, Jennifer, Bengio, Yoshua
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, and we, as machine learning experts, may wonder how we can help. Here we describe how machine learning can be a powerful tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping society adapt to a changing climate. From smart grids to disaster management, we identify high impact problems where existing gaps can be filled by machine learning, in collaboration with other fields. Our recommendations encompass exciting research questions as well as promising business opportunities. We call on the machine learning community to join the global effort against climate change.
Canada has been investing in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for longer than most of the industrialized world. Dr. Geoff Hinton of Google helped ignite the field of graphics processing unit (GPU) deep learning at the University of Toronto. Then he became chief scientific advisor to the Vector Institute, which in collaboration with the University, aims to produce the largest number of deep learning AI graduates and innovators globally. It's the home of computer scientist Yoshua Bengio, who is another pioneer of AI technology. Hundreds of AI researchers and doctoral students are concentrated at McGill University and the University of Montreal.
Yoshua Bengio has never been one to take sides. As one of the three intellects who shaped the deep learning that now dominates artificial intelligence, he has been catapulted to stardom. It's a field so new the people who can advance it fit into one room together, and everyone--from tech startups to multinational conglomerates and the department of defense--wants a share of their minds. But while his peer scientists Yann LeCun and Geoffrey Hinton have signed on to Facebook and Google, respectively, Bengio, 53, has chosen to continue working from his small third-floor office on the hilltop campus of the University of Montreal. "I want to remain a neutral agent," he says as he sips rust-colored licorice water, which he pours from a carafe that acts as a weight for the mess of papers cluttering his desk. Sign up to get Backchannel's weekly newsletter. Like the nuclear scientists of the last century, Bengio understands that the tools he's invented are powerful beyond measure and must be cultivated with great forethought and widespread consideration. "We don't want one or two companies, which I will not name, to be the only big players in town for AI," he says, raising his eyebrows to indicate that we both know which companies he means. One eyebrow is in Menlo Park; the other is in Mountain View. That's why Bengio has recently chosen to forego his neutrality, signing on with Microsoft.