AI AI Innovations that are saving the Earth | AI for Environment

AI Innovations that are Saving the Earth

Saumya Soni

Global warming obviously is not an easy issue to solve. If it was, it would have been eliminated already by the few people who understand it. But it still exists. Mainly because there was no intelligence level superior to humans. Fortunately, Artificial Super Intelligence is becoming increasingly popular in today’s society and has the potential to provide us with unique solutions to climate change. This blog will uncover some of the unique ways people are steering Artificial Intelligence to embark on a path of finding new efficient ways to help our planet cope with climate change’s severe effects.

Many organizations such as Microsoft, Google and Tesla have realized and accepted the harmful effects of global warming, as it affects the economy as well. They have taken this matter into their own hands and are deploying more efficient ways to run their data centers that are ecofriendly, along with hiring environmentalists to suggest better ways to run their real estate building centers.

Microsoft created a project called AI-based Near-real-time Global Carbon Budget (ANGCB). This project has a set-goal to make Microsoft carbon neutral by 2050, and to reach this they used an AI-based assessment which can predict the allocation and budget for global carbon usage.

A non-profit organization called The Ocean Cleanup is taking action and addressing this issue by conducting an Aerial Expedition to gather data on how much trash there is in the ocean (specifically in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). They then deployed the world’s first technological solution for how to clean up the trash which exists on the surface of the water. They used (and continue to use) advanced technologies to get rid of the plastic on the surface of the ocean. The first step of the process is creating a temporary “coastline barrier” which concentrates the plastic into one area. The barrier is a 600-meter-long floater, which has a 3-meter-deep skirt, attached below the surface of the water. The floater gives buoyancy to the system as it prevents plastic from escaping over it. Meanwhile the skirt which is 3 meters below prevents the smaller plastics from escaping underneath. Fortunately, marine life isn’t affected by this, as the skirt creates a downward flow which marine life can pass beneath without harm. Interestingly, the system takes into account the three natural oceanic forces: the wind, the waves and the currents. The wind, waves and current help the system move faster than the plastic thus chasing and capturing it. The system is even free floating, so it automatically drifts toward the areas with the highest plastic concentration. The more advanced technological part of this system consists of: solar powered lights (saving energy in the long-run/preventing some production of the burning of fossil fuels – less pollution); anti-collision systems (sensors and AI predicting for which weather patterns would cause the most damage and possible collisions); cameras (observing different patterns of the type of plastic); sensors (camera can act as an ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) sensor so the AI can make its own decision as to what it should do next/what will create the most accurate impact); and satellite antennas (collects the information and sends it back to big servers where the data can be processed and analyzed). Then an assistant vessel comes and takes the concentrated plastic to the shore where it is later recycled and converted into everyday products. This great and efficient system is expected to clean up to 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every 5 years.

Other non-profit organizations such as Snow Leopard Conservancy and Wild Me are using AI IoT sensors to sense where different animals are in the environment. Wild Me has developed a unique software called Wildbook, which uses AI and Machine Learning. Wildbook identifies wildlife species, then uses another algorithm to identify the individual organism within the species, at exponentially higher rates than humans are able. 

Global warming is branching problems into many different areas such as ocean garbage, land garbage, environmental temperatures rising, air pollution, oceans becoming acidic, deforestation, increased number of hurricanes and unnatural storms, decrease of natural resources, etc. The severe impacts we are seeing in the world today are enough of a reason for us to step up and use our potential and creativity to innovate solutions to climate change. The projects presented in this blog serve as unique examples of how we can combine our own passion with the right skills and technology to solve global challenges we care about.