How can artificial intelligence help us with climate change?

John McCarthy, one of the founding fathers of artificial intelligence, offered the following definition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a paper published in 2007, it is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence. But, AI does not have to confine itself to methods that are biologically observable.

Read more: What is artificial intelligence?

AI in tackling climate change

A newly formed alliance called ‘A.I. for the Plant’ was created by Startup Inside in collaboration with the AI for Good Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT).

It aims to create a global platform to identify top cases, select promising solutions and accelerate the deployment at scale of AI technology for climate change.

Read more: AI for the Planet Alliance

Another organization, ‘Destination Earth’ led by the European Space Agency aims to create an AI-based model of the Earth. This is being done to monitor and predict the interaction between climate phenomena such as drought and human activities.

Read more: How artificial intelligence can help us prepare for climate adaptation

According to UNESCO, AI can be used to play an important role in climate adaptation and resilience efforts. AI can gather and analyze datasets in real time, leading to the creation of early warning signs for extreme weather events. In addition, long-term projections of localized events such as sea-level rise.

Read more: Fighting Climate Change with the AI for the Planet Alliance

Climate Change from space – 360 degrees |
Climate Change from space – 360 degrees | ESA’s Earth Observation Facility (ESRIN) in Frascati, Italy hosts the Φ-Experience – a multimedia center, comprising an Earth observation data visualization facility, conceived and realized by Ars Electronica Solutions. It demonstrates climate change aspects from an orbital perspective, using satellite images and new views of Earth |
Photo: Ars Electronica / My Trinh Müller-Gardiner

Business solution

Businesses will experience significant supply chain and production disruptions due to climate change in the next decades. Hence, AI can be quite useful in identifying operational weaknesses brought on by climate change. Furthermore, anticipating where these business disruptions can happen.

Agriculture solution

Microsoft in collaboration with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), developed an AI sowing app that sends sowing advisories to participating farmers. This would be done on the optimal date to sow and pest attacks based on weather conditions and crop stage. This app has helped farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. Furthermore, it has empowered small farmers to increase their income through higher crop yield. These AI-based sowing advisories lead to 30% higher yields for farmers in India.

Read more: Digital Agriculture: Farmers in India are using AI to increase crop yields – Microsoft Stories India

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