Climate change is here, can AI help us?
In Australia, fires have ravaged more than 10 hectares of vegetation and 2,000 homes and many people had to be evacuated. The glaciers on both poles are disappearing and the inhabitants of Greenland and Siberia are beginning to have problems with permafrost, which is no longer permanent. In our latitudes, it is no longer true that winter is always white, and in summer you can hear cicadas in Bratislava, which were used to be heard only in southern parts of Europe up until now.
Drastic changes in climate cannot be denied, nor overlooked. At this point, the discussion should be whether this change is caused by a human factor or is a natural process. And perhaps even more compelling question is whether we can do something about it. Sudden weather changes and average temperature increases are more than annoying. They can seriously endanger a large number of people and cause material damage. Can modern technologies help to tame the consequences of climate change?
With Big Data, we can organize the data we get every day from different types of sensors, measuring devices and monitors and recognize patterns. The more precise our climate models are, the better we will be able to identify vulnerable areas. Algorithms already help us better identify signals of approaching typhoons and hurricanes. The sooner we have information about the impending disaster, the sooner the authorities are able to issue warnings to people in the area and initiate an evacuation.
Artificial intelligence and deep learning will allow to test theories and solutions proposed by climatologists. One example is IBM's Green Horizon project, which combines IoT, Big Data and machine learning to create weather forecasts and validate the probability of each model.
Modern technologies can also significantly help in reducing the carbon footprint. E.g. Google uses artificial intelligence to manage data centers - reducing its energy costs by 15%.
In the past, people have been able to significantly change the landscape around them and not always with a positive outcome. Iceland was forested before the arrival of the Severians, the Lebanese cedars were nearly extinct thanks to intensive mining, and intensive agriculture on the American prairies contributed to the emergence of the Dust Bowl and the personal tragedies of millions of people. Today, thanks to artificial intelligence and advanced technologies, we have a chance to reduce the negative impacts of civilization on the ecosphere.