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Tech giant Microsoft has pledged $50 million for its AI for Earth initiative which aims to equip environmental protectionists with artificial intelligence (AI) technology and knowhow. Lucas N. Joppa – the company’s chief environment scientist – is running the program and, in this Nature article, shares insights on how AI tools could help assess and solve environmental issues, giving examples of where they do so already. His sunny view of technology as an agent for sustainability is infectious. getAbstract appreciates the ray of light shining through the fog of gloomy environmental news and recommends the article to the heirs of twenty-first-century environmental degradation.

About the Author

Lucas N. Joppa is Microsoft’s chief environment scientist and head of its AI for Earth program. He develops computational techniques for solving environmental issues.

 

Summary

Why can’t scientists predict the effects of climate change?

Climate scientists currently lack the big data to make accurate and area-specific predictions. AI has increased engagement with social media platforms. But scientists haven’t yet applied it on a large enough scale to understand the regional effects of climate change.

Why might tech firms soon apply AI to sustainability?

Leveraging AI technologies to help the environment is the right thing to do, and it makes business sense. Investors, employees and customers all require companies to be socially and environmentally responsible. Skilled employees want more...


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