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Deep Learning's Climate Change Problem

#artificialintelligence

The human brain is an incredibly efficient source of intelligence. Earlier this month, OpenAI announced it had built the biggest AI model in history. This astonishingly large model, known as GPT-3, is an impressive technical achievement. Yet it highlights a troubling and harmful trend in the field of artificial intelligence--one that has not gotten enough mainstream attention. Modern AI models consume a massive amount of energy, and these energy requirements are growing at a breathtaking rate.


How Having Bigger AI Models Can Have A Detrimental Impact On Environment

#artificialintelligence

The COVID crisis has skyrocketed the applications of artificial intelligence -- from tackling this global pandemic, to being a vital tool in managing various business processes. Despite its benefits, AI has always been scrutinised for its ethical concerns like existing biases and privacy issues. However, this technology also has some significant sustainability issues – it is known to consume a massive amount of energy, creating a negative impact on the environment. As AI technology is getting advanced in predicting weather, understanding human speech, enhancing banking payments, and revolutionising healthcare, the advanced models are not only required to be trained on large datasets, but also require massive computing power to improve its accuracy. Such heavy computing and processing consumes a tremendous amount of energy and emits carbon dioxide, which has become an environmental concern. According to a report, it has been estimated that the power required for training AI models emits approximately 626,000 pounds (284 tonnes) of carbon dioxide, which is comparatively five times the lifetime emissions of the average US car.


Using artificial intelligence to craft clean air campaigns

#artificialintelligence

The country-wide lockdown to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in India resulted in an unprecedented drop in air pollution levels across cities. As people practise social distancing and marvel at the positive impact of the lack of human mobility on the environment, this is an opportune time to curate and run an effective air pollution campaign so that the new normal might be brighter. As many as 21 out of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India. Yet, public outrage and civic action towards air pollution are sporadic and scattered, peaking during Diwali but remaining low-key for the rest of the year. In light of this trend, Clean Air Fund and Quilt.AI studied the history and impact of 30 major environmental and public health campaigns in India since 2015.


Researchers propose framework to measure AI's social and environmental impact

#artificialintelligence

In a newly published paper on the preprint server Arxiv.org, Through techniques like compute-efficient machine learning, federated learning, and data sovereignty, the coauthors assert scientists and practitioners have the power to cut contributions to the carbon footprint while restoring trust in historically opaque systems. Sustainability, privacy, and transparency remain underaddressed and unsolved challenges in AI. In June 2019, researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst released a study estimating that the amount of power required for training and searching a given model involves the emission of roughly 626,000 pounds of carbon dioxide -- equivalent to nearly 5 times the lifetime emissions of the average U.S. car. Partnerships like those pursued by DeepMind and the U.K.'s National Health Service conceal the true nature of AI systems being developed and piloted.


Robot sloth used to save the world's most endangered species

The Independent - Tech

The Atlanta Botanical Garden will be using a robotic sloth to save some of the world's most endangered species. The sloth robot, called Slothbot, hangs in trees to monitor animals, plants, and the environment. It was built by the robotics engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and uses solar panels to power itself. In larger environments, Salothbot will be able to switch between cables to cover more ground. "SlothBot embraces slowness as a design principle," the Georgia Tech "That's not how robots are typically designed today, but being slow and hyper-energy efficient will allow SlothBot to linger in the environment to observe things we can only see by being present continuously for months, or even years."


A robot sloth will (very slowly) survey endangered species

Engadget

Most animal-inspired robots are designed to move quickly, but Georgia Tech's latest is just the opposite. Their newly developed SlothBot is built to study animals, plants and the overall environment below them by moving as little as possible. It inches along overhead cables only when necessary, charging itself with solar panels to monitor factors like carbon dioxide levels and weather for as long as possible -- possibly for years. It even crawls toward the sunlight to ensure it stays charged. The 3D-printed shell helps SlothBot blend in (at least in areas where sloths live) while sheltering its equipment from the rain.


Deep Learning's Climate Change Problem

#artificialintelligence

The human brain is an incredibly efficient source of intelligence. Earlier this month, OpenAI announced it had built the biggest AI model in history. This astonishingly large model, known as GPT-3, is an impressive technical achievement. Yet it highlights a troubling and harmful trend in the field of artificial intelligence--one that has not gotten enough mainstream attention. Modern AI models consume a massive amount of energy, and these energy requirements are growing at a breathtaking rate.


CSIRO and Microsoft to use AI to tackle man-made environmental problems

ZDNet

It is estimated that as much as 12 million tons of plastic find their way into rivers and oceans each year, representing a huge threat to wildlife and the environment. It's one of the major challenges the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is looking to address, using technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to interpret data collected during beach and ocean surveys along with videos of rivers and stormwater drains to identify and track garbage flows into waterways. Inking a partnership with Microsoft, Australia's scientific agency will look at how to tackle plastic waste, as well as illegal fishing, and how it can help boost farming. By collecting data about the spread and concentration of plastic, CSIRO is using AI and ML to analyse where the plastic might end up and also what steps can be taken on land to reduce the likelihood of plastic entering waterways and oceans. "Reverse vending machines", where the public can recycle bottles and cans in return for a fee, is also on the list for exploration.


Giant larvacean could help the battle against climate change

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A strange sea creature that lives 1,000 feet below the surface encased in a giant bubble of mucus may be key to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These bubble-houses are discarded and replaced regularly as the animal grows in size and its filters become clogged with particles. Once discarded, they sink to the seafloor and encapsulate the carbon for good, preventing it from re-entering the atmosphere. Larvaceans also capture and dispose of microplastics in this way, which can come from clothing and cosmetics and often ingested by other marine species. Researchers used a system of lasers mounted on a 12,000 pound robot to map the giant larvacean's delicate body in a series of 3D images.


Climate change: What do all the terms mean?

BBC News

Climate change is seen as the biggest challenge to the future of human life on Earth, and understanding the scientific language used to describe it can sometimes feel just as difficult. But help is at hand. Use our translator tool to find out what some of the words and phrases relating to climate change mean. Keeping the rise in global average temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius will avoid the worst impacts of climate change, scientists say.