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Can AI Help Save the Environment?

Updated: Mar 25

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence, more commonly known as AI, has the ability to replicate human intelligence into machines through the application of algorithms integrated into dynamic computing environments. In short, AI makes it possible for robots to think like humans and perform human-like tasks by utilizing ​​decision support systems and smart search systems.


AI is a technology that impacts many aspects of our lives as this sophisticated tool is capable to analyze large amounts of complex information and recognize patterns that eventually helps many of us make the best decision. It is largely used for many processes today, but does it have the potential to help save the environment? Artificial Intelligence is highly valued in healthcare and financial industries, but it also holds the ability to help save this planet, or particularly the environment.



How is AI Being Used to Help the Environment?

As of today, AI is used to monitor and predict everything from glacier retreats to commercial waste management. As the urgency of protecting deteriorating natural environment increases, AI is able to help manage climate change, ensure food security and water safety, as well as help build more sustainable cities. There are endless opportunities for us to explore how it can help transform traditional sectors for the better. As deep learning innovation progresses, AI's foresight helps scientists know about their impact on the climate and the wisest steps to take and for policy makers to adapt. Here are some ways where AI has an important role in helping to protect the environment and eventually help cities achieve environmental sustainability.


Improving Agriculture

Agriculture can be augmented by artificial intelligence. Robotics is used to collect relevant data and images along with knowledge of crop diseases. Computer vision and deep learning algorithms are collected from drones flying over fields. By doing this, farmers are aiming for the timely feeding of livestock and to allow overall optimization of supply-based agricultural inputs and yields. This is expected to improve the resource efficiency of agribusiness, reduce the use of water, fertilizers and pesticides that damage ecosystems, and increase resilience to extreme climates.


Conserving Biodiversity

AI provides a fast and inexpensive way to analyze hours of records about animals’ behavioral patterns. One of the most useful applications is acoustic monitoring, where the sounds of wildlife ecosystems are recorded by weathering sensors. From birds and bats to mammals and even invertebrates, many animals use sound for communication, navigation, and territorial defense. This can be used to provide a vast abundance of data on how species populations are continuously advancing. By utilizing machine learning and computer vision, the presence of invasive species and other changes in biodiversity can also be monitored, identified, and tracked. Another useful application of AI that helps track wildlife populations is facial recognition of animals, combined with camera traps in the wild.


Protecting Oceans

In order for us to protect the ocean, it is crucial to monitor its changes. With the use of AI technology, climatologists and oceanographers are sending autonomous marine vehicles to deep depths. Some companies are already developing stand-alone garbage collection systems that can help remove floating debris and plastic. Another way AI can be used to help protect oceans is from illegal overfishing. Machine learning algorithms, called Global Fishing Watch, collects satellite data and data on vessel movement so that it is possible to identify where boats are fishing illegally. This will help protect marine life and conserve fishing grounds.



The Future of AI to Help Save the Environment

In this modernized era, AI is continuously evolving. In the future, AI technology is predicted to allow us to create a digital dashboard of the Earth that will enable us to monitor, model, predict and manage environmental systems on a global scale. This has the potential to mitigate current environmental challenges, everything from deforestation, carbon dioxide levels, wildlife, pollution monitoring all the way to more accurately predict natural disasters.



References

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  3. Haddad S. 6 ways AI can help save the planet [Internet]. Raconteur. 2020. Available from: https://www.raconteur.net/sustainability/ai-save-planet/

  4. How artificial intelligence is saving our planet [Internet]. BioEnergy Consult. 2021. Available from: https://www.bioenergyconsult.com/artificial-intelligence-is-saving-planet/

  5. Impact of artificial intelligence on the Agriculture Sector [Internet]. Insights Success. 2020. Available from: https://www.insightssuccess.in/impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-agriculture-sector/

  6. NetApp. What is artificial intelligence or AI and why is it important [Internet]. NetApp. NetApp; 1970. Available from: https://www.netapp.com/artificial-intelligence/what-is-artificial-intelligence/#:~:text=Stated%20simply%2C%20AI%20is%20trying,Data%20and%20data%20management

  7. Williams H. How can ai save the planet? [Internet]. Medium. Towards Data Science; 2019. Available from: https://towardsdatascience.com/how-can-ai-save-the-planet-7dfebc0f7f5b

  8. Written by Celine Herweijer GCSO. 8 ways AI can help save the planet [Internet]. World Economic Forum. Available from: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/8-ways-ai-can-help-save-the-planet/


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