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) …
"I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act on changing the climate"– Greta Thunberg Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl, who is famously called as a climate change warrior. She has started an international youth movement against climate change and has been nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize 2019 for climate activism. According to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel (IPCC), climate change is seen as the top global threat by many countries.
Greta Thunberg is 16 and lives in Sweden. Until February last year, she was just another student concerned about the environment. Today, she's become the world's most influential climate activists, after founding'Fridays for Future', a movement that encourages school students to take time off from class to participate in demonstrations against their countries' governments for breaching environmental laws. Greta believes that we're heading towards a natural disaster and the planet's destruction if we fail to change our habits as a society. And that includes everyone, from large industries to the individual citizen.
On May 7th, WattTime announced a new project in collaboration with Carbon Tracker, Google, and the World Resources Institute (WRI). The project will quantify carbon emissions from all of the world's largest power plants by utilizing AI technology. Data collected will be made available in a public database. The data is intended to hold the polluting plants accountable to environmental standards and enable advanced new emissions reduction technologies. But through the growing power of AI, our little coalition of nonprofits is about to lift that veil all over the world, all at once," said Gavin McCormick, Executive Director of WattTime. "To think that today a little team like ours can use emerging AI remote sensing techniques to hold every powerful polluter worldwide accountable is pretty incredible.
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XAG has been invited to attend the inaugural Fortune Global Sustainability Forum, held from September 4-6 in China's Yunnan Province, to explore cutting-edge thinking and innovative solutions for the growing environmental problems. This three-day summit has convened senior leaders from Fortune 500 companies, government, NGOs, academia and other pioneering business to forge new environmental consensus through the convergence of energy, technology and sustainability. Guest speakers included Tony Fadell, Principal of Future Shape, Pat Brown, Founder and CEO of Impossible Foods Inc, Jim Fitterling, CEO of Dow Chemical, Clay Chandler, Executive Director and Asia Editor of Fortune, Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, etc. As a representative of agriculture technology company and the only drone maker at this year's forum, XAG, together with Nature Conservancy, CreditEase, WildChina and Yunnan Poverty Alleviation Office, presented key insights that falls under the sub-theme Rural Development and the Environment. Speaking at the forum, Justin Gong, Co-founder and Vice President of XAG, has informed the world of an upcoming paradigm shift in agriculture.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina's Center for Geospatial Analytics (CGA) are using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help farmers better adapt their crops to changing climates. Speaking to ZDNet, CGA associate director Ranga Raju Vatsavai said his team of researchers has been working in partnership with Lenovo for the last two years to develop AI and ML solutions to help farmers preemptively identify ways to best optimise water and energy -- and ultimately address the threats to food insecurity. "Our area of research is to extract actionable knowledge from the datasets. Food, energy, and water are a good application because the population is going to reach 10 billion by 2050. Right now, we are utilising 70% of fresh water for agriculture," he said.
In collaboration with Facebook, Hyderabad state-backed T-Hub has shortlisted 10 artificial intelligence startups for the second edition of their India Innovation Accelerator programme. The programme aims to support the growth of startups focused on finding solutions for social challenges using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in areas of good health and wellbeing, agriculture, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic opportunity, industry, innovation & infrastructure, climate change, and peace and justice & strong institutions. The final cohort of 10 AI startups has now been selected from over 140 applications received from across India. The participants were reviewed based on quality of technology-based solutions, product/solution market readiness and social impact among other relevant parameters. Manish Chopra, head and director of partnerships, Facebook India, said, "At Facebook, we believe Artificial Intelligence will be key to finding disruptive solutions to address societal challenges like access, affordability, and skill shortage. We are excited to champion the next generation of tech startups applying AI for social good and accelerate their development by giving them access to expertise."
In an bid to reduce the effects of food waste further, millions of trees are being planted across the globe, with Ethiopia recently setting a record of 30 million trees in a day. But while global efforts to plant new trees are necessary, British start-up Biocarbon Engineering have identified issues. Planting by hand isn't the most effective; it's extremely time consuming, and therefore the number of trees that can be planted is limited. This is where artificial intelligence comes in.
Christoph Mertz, the principal project scientist at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, started taking pictures of the hills overlooking Pittsburgh's West End on his smartphone. "Every day, for months, I was collecting images of these hillsides," Mertz said. "I wanted to see if I could use these pictures as a way to predict the next landslide." Landslides are natural phenomena, but many of the conditions that can increase their likelihood are caused by human activity, such as directing surface runoff to an area or altering natural slopes for the construction of buildings and roads. Combined with increased rainfall rates related to climate change, landslides in the United States have become more common and more severe.
Leveraging AI and IoT for environmental sustainability can help maximize our current efforts for environmental protection. According to a 2018 report by Intel, 74% of 200 business decision-makers in environmental sustainability agreed that AI would help solve environmental problems. Millions of electronic devices are discarded without proper disposal. Billions of dollars are wasted every year for proper disposal or recycling of used parts of discarded devices. To mitigate the issue of improper disposal of redundant electronic devices, companies like Apple use recycled materials or materials which have a low harmful impact on the environment.