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AI for Earth: Helping save the planet with data science

AI For Earth – a $50 million commitment

One of the last things Stephen Hawking told us was that the creation of powerful artificial intelligence will be “either the best or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity”

We are not there (yet), but we already live our day to day lives with little crazy algorithms that make our life easier and our adds more personal.

Some time ago Microsoft has founded AI for Earth– a five-year, US$50 million initiative that supports, and partners with, environmental groups and researchers. They are tackling some of the world’s most intractable problems by marshalling the immense power of AI, machine learning (ML), and the cloud.

Wee Hyong- Principal Data Science Manager, AI & Research- and his colleagues at AI for Earth and Microsoft Research are convinced that solutions can come in our time – if data, technology, and imagination are put to work.

I am an optimist,” he says before describing the technical complexities surrounding his team’s quest. “We can learn how to leverage AI to solve some of the sustainability challenges facing humanity today.”

AI for Earth aims to create sustainable solutions across four areas that are key to the health of the planet and the future of humankind: agriculture, water, biodiversity, and climate change.

Check the projects!

Wee Hyong proudly points to some early breakthroughs. The Farm Beats project is pioneering new data-driven agriculture to guide farmers in India and the United States on where and when to plant crops for the greatest yield.

Project Premonition uses insects as de facto “field biologists”. The project uses AI to analyze blood that mosquitoes take from animals across an ecosystem to glean valuable data. To achieve this, AI for Earth is developing drones that autonomously locate mosquito hotspots, robotic traps to collect specimens, and cloud-scale genomics and machine learning algorithms to identify each animal bitten.

Project Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS) uses AI to aid conservationists in the fight against poaching by utilizing machine learning, AI planning, and behaviour modelling. They are using insects to protect biodiversity

For more projects visit AI for Earth!

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