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) …
At the Tackling Climate Change workshop at this year's NeurIPS conference, some of the top minds in machine learning came together to discuss the effects of climate change on life on Earth, how AI can tackle the urgent problem, and why and how the machine learning community should join the fight. The panel included Yoshua Bengio, MILA director and University of Montreal professor; Jeff Dean, Google's AI chief; Andrew Ng, cofounder of Google Brain and founder of Landing.ai; and Cornell University professor and Institute for Computational Sustainability director Carla Gomes. The Tackling Climate Change workshop explored a wide range of topics, from the use of deep reinforcement learning to improve performance for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to the application of deep learning to predict wildfire risk, detect avalanche deposits, improve plane efficiency with better wind forecasts, and conduct a global census of solar farms. The workshop is put together by Climate Change AI, a group that hosts workshops at AI research conferences and a forum for collaboration between machine learning practitioners and people from other fields. One essential step in better addressing the world's pressing challenges, says Bengio, is changing the way AI research is valued.
The next generation of UK scientists have been backed by government today (Thursday 24 October) to develop the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies that will transform how people live and work and help tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges. A combined government and industry investment of £370 million will deliver 2,700 new PhD places in biosciences and AI. Of this, £200 million will fund 1,000 new PhD places over the next 5 years to study AI which could help diagnose diseases like cancer earlier and make industries, including aviation and automotive, more sustainable. The first 200 students will be studying at 14 universities across the country, working closely with 300 leading businesses, including AstraZeneca, Google, Rolls-Royce and NHS Trusts. A further £170 million will fund 1,700 places to study PhDs in biosciences helping to tackle issues like feeding the world's growing population and helping people stay healthier for longer.
Climate change is the most important crisis the planet is facing today. Millions of people from all over the world took to the streets recently demanding urgent governmental action to help control the ongoing catastrophe and reverse the negative impact of climate change. We will need to marshal all our resources, including Artificial Intelligence to save our planet from peril. Some of the foremost minds in machine learning and artificial intelligence recently published a study where they outlined 13 crucial areas where machine learning can be used to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. The recommendations they made were divided into three major categories – high leverage solutions, where machine learning can make a noticeable impact, long term solutions that will take at least a couple of decades to pay off, and finally, high risk pursuits, where the technology is either not mature enough or we don't know enough to effectively predict the consequences.
A week ago today, millions of students took to the streets to protest the lack of action governments are taking to combat climate change. On Monday, 16-year-old Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg made an intense and emotionally charged speech at the United Nations, begging world leaders to step up their commitment to protecting the planet's future. Headlines around the world echo her rallying cry, accusing our leaders of failing us. I wholeheartedly agree that governments can, and should, do more to confront climate change. But I have been equally curious about how cutting-edge technology is being used to fight and shelter against the effects of global warming.
AI can also unlock new insights from the massive amounts of complex climate simulations generated by the field of climate modeling, which has come a long way since the first system was created at Princeton in the 1960s. Of the dozens of models that have since come into existence, all represent atmosphere, oceans, land, cryosphere, or ice. But, even with agreement on basic scientific assumptions, Claire Monteleoni, a computer science professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a co-founder of climate informatics, points out that while the models generally agree in the short term, differences emerge when it comes to long-term forecasts.
AI can also unlock new insights from the massive amounts of complex climate simulations generated by the field of climate modeling, which has come a long way since the first system was created at Princeton in the 1960s. Of the dozens of models that have since come into existence, all look at data regarding atmosphere, oceans, land, cryosphere, or ice. But, even with agreement on basic scientific assumptions, Claire Monteleoni, a computer science professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a co-founder of climate informatics, points out that while the models generally agree in the short term, differences emerge when it comes to long-term forecasts.
Steven Pinker is a cognitive psychologist, linguist, and author of Bill Gates' two favorite books. However, his latest – Enlightenment Now – has some serious shortcomings centering on Pinker's misperceptions about climate change polarization. Pinker falls into the trap of'Both Siderism,' acknowledging the Republican Party's science denial, but also wrongly blaming liberals for the policy stalemate, telling Ezra Klein:
While there are still some on the earth who claim climate change is a farce, the majority of us believe we need to throw everything possible into slowing down or solving the problem. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are two tools in our climate-change-halting toolbox. The more we utilize AI and machine learning technology to help us understand our current reality, predict future weather events and create new products and services to minimize our human impact our chances of improving and saving lives, creating a healthier world and making businesses more efficient, the better chance we have to stall or even reverse the climate change trajectory we're on. Here are just a few of the ways AI and machine learning are helping us tackle climate change.