Here’s how IBM is saving Earth with AI

IBM's approach to artificial intelligence is probably described as "global". Watson, the company's flagship learning system, has been everywhere from the Grammy Awards until the International Space Station . IBM's contributions, however, are not limited to B2B and government projects. In his spare time, the company also uses AI to save the planet. No biggie.

The IA has quickly become an important tool for scientists and environmental researchers trying to reverse climate change, develop clean energy and revolutionize energy efficiency. Agriculture.

All over the world, IBM researchers are providing solutions to some of the biggest problems that our planet and our species are facing today, and machine learning is a huge part of His efforts.

Credits: IBM

To deepen, we spoke with Lloyd Treinish, an IBM researcher with a brilliant title: IBM Distinguished Engineer, Chief Scientist – Modeling the Environment, Climate, Weather and Deep Thunder .

What does AI bring to the table that was not there five years ago?

I think the most important contribution of AI has been to help people make better decisions, associated with environmental problems, especially when there is a problem. uncertainty. However, we must start with science, otherwise there is no data for the AI ​​techniques to use. For example, for weather forecasts, we use our knowledge of the physics of the atmosphere to create mathematical models that we solve with supercomputers.

The data can also be used with automatic learning ("AI") to advance the models, so that we can predict the impact of the weather, which is necessary to enable better decisions. We have been researching this for over a decade. But in recent years, it has become practical. In fact, we now have commercial offers that use this approach.

Think, for example, of the ability to predict when power will disappear from storm damage in a few days. Storm prediction is a physics problem. Interrupt prediction uses artificial intelligence (machine learning) based on what physics tells us and what utilities tell us about failures. The idea is that we can break down a very difficult problem, such as predicting faults in two simpler ones, and pair them together (that is, physics + IA).

What will the IBM planets economy initiatives in five years look like?

Let me rephrase the question, if you do not mind. These will be environmental initiatives that can help save the planet, not just AI initiatives. We will use AI and other technologies, guided by solid science from many disciplines. They will help people, businesses, and governments make better decisions, assess uncertainty in different scenarios, and understand the implications of compromises of different choices.

To illustrate what I mean, let me give you some examples. Take the example of a planner concerned with mitigating the impact of climate change through policy changes. The effects of more intense heat waves that can affect the health of citizens, energy consumption, etc. are of particular concern.

The planner might ask what approaches should be required, for example to make all green roofs. But how do we know that they would actually work against other choices? What are the trade-offs, including the costs? Through physics, we can simulate the climate over the next decades at the urban scale.

We then redo the simulations with adjustments in the city features that reflect different mitigation strategies to see how the heat waves would evolve differently. The results of the simulations could be used by an AI-based assistant who can help the planner to do what-if assessments of such choices and what contribution to more intense heat waves comes from global warming against the # 39; urbanization.

Consider another example, where a farmer must choose between two types of corn to plant during the next season. They each have different yield characteristics, depending on temperature and precipitation during the growing season, and a different value in the market. There is some variation in the cost of growth, including the use of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation, all of which depend on weather conditions.

Physical models of the atmosphere, agronomic models of crop growth, and economic models of maize, water, and electricity markets covering the current growing season could be used by an AI assistant to help the farmer evaluate the trade-offs. the benefit in relation to the environmental impact (eg carbon footprint, water use, effects on the soil) to determine a more optimal choice.

What can my readers do to help IBM save the planet?

They can learn about climate change, the environmental impacts of human activities and share this knowledge with others. There are online courses like Communicating Climate Change Scenarios or sources like The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the annual digital series of The Weather Company, United States of Climate Change studying the impact of climate change across America, and how that affected lives in all 50 states.

They can make changes in their personal and professional lives by reducing their energy consumption and using renewable energy sources, recycling, and so on. They can also contribute to the idle time of their computers. announced today .

For more information, you can visit the IBM website on Energy and the Environment .

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