This week in AI & Machine Learning: Just a few of the ways AI is helping respond to and fight against climate change.  

Author’s Note

Happy Earth Day! 

Of all the things vision AI is capable of, helping protect the planet is undoubtedly the most interesting and impactful. On the Plainsight blog, we’re taking a closer look at how custom AI models can help make waste sorting safer, more effective, and more efficient. Over on LinkedIn, Elizabeth Spears, Plainsight’s Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer discusses more examples of how computer vision is helping both monitor and mitigate the many effects of climate change.

Computer vision labels distinguish different kinds of trash on a conveyor belt.

Artificial Intelligence News

Machine Learning to Support Renewable Energy 

Making renewable energy more practical is among the central challenges of addressing climate change. So far, finding the chemical catalysts necessary to scale up fuel production has proven time consuming as well as labor and resource intensive. Researchers from Meta AI and Carnegie Mellon University are working together to develop machine learning models capable of recreating essential chemical reactions and speeding up catalyst discovery. This week, they made their data set, OC20 open source. The largest dataset of materials related to renewable energy storage is now available to the research community at large. One of Meta’s Senior Fellows also offers a broad overview of the ways AI supports efforts to address climate change.

An AI-Powered, Bear-Detecting Radar

Polar bear populations have been hit especially hard by climate change, facing dramatic changes to their habitats and seeing their numbers dwindle. In certain parts of Canada and Alaska, this is bringing desperate bears closer to towns and putting people and animals alike at risk. The Montana-based nonprofit Polar Bears International has begun using AI to teach radar how to better tell the difference between wandering bears and other similarly sized animals and objects. Learn more about PBI’s ongoing work to address this unfortunate result of our changing climate and the ways other research teams are supporting them. 

Can AI Save Endangered Ocean Species? 

Climate change is not only causing the ocean’s temperature to rise, but changing its chemical composition too. These changes threaten the very existence of many species and will force others to migrate a great distance for survival. Researchers at Northeastern University, led by associate professor Katie Lotterhos, believe they can play a role in “assisted migration” with the help of AI. In a new paper, Lotterhos and her colleagues show how a machine learning algorithm combining environmental and genetic data can help predict how species will be affected by climate change over time and which ones may need to migrate. Read more about Lotterhos and team’s work and how their model creates “virtual species” to help make its predictions. 

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About the Author & Plainsight

Bennett Glace is a B2B technology content writer and cinephile from Philadelphia. He helps Plainsight in its mission to make vision AI accessible to entire enterprise teams.

Plainsight’s vision AI platform streamlines and optimizes the full computer vision lifecycle. From data annotation through deployment, customers can quickly create and successfully operationalize their own vision AI applications to solve highly diverse business challenges.

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