If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
In Texas, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists are using artificial intelligence to set a new world record for producing algae as a reliable, economic source for biofuel that can be used as an alternative fuel source for jet aircraft and other transportation needs. Joshua Yuan, AgriLife Research scientist, professor and chair of Synthetic Biology and Renewable Products in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, is leading the research project. "The commercialization of algal biofuel has been hindered by the relatively low yield and high harvesting cost," Yuan said. "The limited light penetration and poor cultivation dynamics both contributed to the low yield." Overcoming these challenges could enable viable algal biofuels to reduce carbon emissions, mitigate climate change, alleviate petroleum dependency and transform the bioeconomy, Yuan said.
Algae has such immense potential as a biofuel source that scientists have long been studying it for sustainable energy. They even created 3D printed artificial leaves out of algae to produce oxygen for our investigations of Mars. Now, scientists from Texas A&M AgriLife Research are using artificial intelligence to break a new world record for producing algae as a reliable biofuel source, so that a greener and more economical fuel source for jet aircraft and other kinds of transportation could be achieved. The research project is conducted by Joshua Yuan, PhD., and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Fossil Energy Office. One of the major problems with algaes' prominence was their growth limitations due to mutual shading and the high cost of harvest.
Algae are a varied category of aquatic plant-like creatures. Phytoplankton is a term used to describe oceanic algae. These basic creatures generate energy from sunlight through photosynthesis, which allows them to manufacture carbohydrates, oils, and proteins. These can then be processed to produce a third-generation biofuel. Biofuel is any fuel derived from living things or living things' waste products (like fecal matter or urine).
A robot piloted by a ball of algae can swim through water and move around obstacles, powered only by photosynthesis. Neil Phillips at the University of the West of England, UK, and his colleagues wanted to build a robot with no electronic parts, meaning it wouldn't interfere with any electromagnetically sensitive measurement instruments. The team inserted a marimo, a ball of algae that forms naturally in freshwater currents, inside a 3D-printed plastic spherical shell equipped with vents.
It is hoped a new partnership will put Nelson on the map as place to study and advance artificial intelligence technology. Nelson Artificial Intelligence Institute (NAI) is re-locating to the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology's campus, in a move the organisations say will bolster opportunities to train in and develop the technology. Artificial intelligence is an area of software engineering where computers "learn" how to mimic human cognitive functions. Products under development at NAI – which set up in Nelson last year – aimed to help increase both efficiency and environmental sustainability in operations including aquaculture, and commercial fishing. They included a model to detect and classify microscopic algae that could help protect animals like shellfish.
A new artificial intelligence invention by Hypergiant Industries could prove to be the solution to the world's carbon dioxide problem. The company is launching the second generation Eos Bioreactor, currently still a prototype, that can be used to absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and give out oxygen. Besides its ability to reduce environmental pollution, the new AI-based bioreactor also improves health. The excessive presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has led to a steady rise in the average global temperatures over the years. A National Geographic report states that ocean levels will rise by up to 2.3 feet by 2050 due to melting glaciers.
Algae, that green scum often seen on the surface of ponds, and credited with harmful ocean algal blooms that kill ocean life might just hold an important key to addressing climate change. Algae, much like trees, uses carbon dioxide to conduct photosynthesis, sequestering CO2 as it grows. Hypergiant, an AI products and solutions company, is harnessing this unique power of algae in its latest technology, the EOS bio-reactor which uses AI to optimize algae growth and carbon sequestration. Its bio-reactor is built to hook up to HVAC systems found in large industrial buildings, skyscrapers and apartment buildings which are some of the biggest contributors to global warming from the CO2 emitted through their energy usage and air conditioning systems. The science is clear that we must not only cut our carbon emissions as a means to stop the irreversible harm of climate change and limit global warming but that we also need to take carbon out of the atmosphere to stay within the stated target 1.5 C of the Paris Climate Agreement.
There are only a few ingredients needed for algae to take over: carbon dioxide, light, and water. The ancient microorganism is thriving thanks to record heat waves and fertilizers washed away into nearby waters. But what if a fourth ingredient -- artificial intelligence -- could transform the gooey sludge from a growing pest into a tool to fight climate change? A team of researchers at the AI technology company Hypergiant sees algae as a weapon that can be harnessed for our benefit. They recently built an AI-powered machine, the EOS bioreactor, that takes advantage of algae's ability to capture carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.
Toxic algal blooms are a problem that is globally increasing due to nutrients pollution and climate change. Although the use of chemicals may provide temporary relief to the problem, it does not offer a solution. Now an alternative method for chemical algae control is available. Based on the acquisition of big data, artificial intelligence and ultrasound, this novel method can control algal blooms in large water surfaces without disrupting the ecosystem. Toxic blooms of algae are increasing globally in our waterways, causing a variety of health-related issues and environmental degradation.
If you had to imagine what we will be obsessing over in 50 years, what would top your list? We put versions of that question to dozens of entrepreneurs, scientists, academics, and artists, including Richard Branson, Temple Grandin, Ian Bremmer, Ann Kim, and Bright Simons. From their 550 answers, some clear themes emerged: AI will be transformative, climate change will dominate, the genetic revolution will be in full swing. When taken together, these themes paint a fascinating picture of our future world, from the perspective of people who have laid the groundwork to shape it. The themes show that, while experts anticipate that technology will play a big role in our lives in the future, it won't take away our humanity.