Using AI for Societal good

Here is a quick roundup of initiatives from around the world where AI has been deployed for solving environmental and social challenges:

iNaturalist is a platform that enables the collection of wildlife data so that there is a better understanding of biodiversity in areas, wildlife distribution and challenges faced for survival. A combination of human and AI mechanism identifies the species – the results of which tracked over a period of time can help protect the wildlife from climate change and pest invasion.

Although Wind power is a great renewable energy source, it is hard to predict related power output due to variability in wind conditions. Deep mind’s machine learning enables the prediction of wind power output based on the weather forecast and turbine data. Predicted data allows planning ahead in terms of committing delivery output to the power grid and realizing efficiencies resulting from reduced operating costs.

An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts. A national park in Tanzania, is using a combination of Earthranger sensor and poacher cams to identify trespassers in the protected wildlife area. Park rangers get intruder alerts on their mobile devices and even receive photos of the person, which allows them to identify and subsequently produce them as evidence to convict the offenders. The machine learning algorithm further trains on all the data and provides a prediction on where poachers are likely to go next, allowing forest rangers to intercept the bad guys.

Some universities are making their AI expertise available for social good. Machine Learning for Social Good is one such undertaking from Carnegie Mellon University. The program intakes applications that show evident social benefit, well-defined problem statements and relevant data availability.

Hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you found this article interesting, you may also want to check out my previous article on using AI where it really matters.

Do you have any interesting case studies where AI has been used for social good that you would like to share?

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Gopikrishna Aravindan

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