AI from A-Z and C is for Climate

It is always great to see new initiatives relating to spreading knowledge within the field of artificial intelligence. One initiative has been the Elements of AI module that started in Finland and has now grown to an initiative embraced across the European Union being translated into the local languages of the different member states. Another interesting initiative that was announced very recently on the 25th of March 2020 was the collaboration between Google and the Oxford Internet Institute called the A-Z of AI.

What I perhaps love the most is that the C in the alphabet stands for climate.

I think this point should be pervasive in the field and it is great to see it so far up in the alphabetical letters.

What they mention in short is.

  • They’re being used to model melting glaciers and predict rising sea levels so effective action can be taken.
  • Other systems are helping to find new chemical structures needed to create solar fuels from sunlight.
  • Researchers are also considering the environmental impact of data centers and AI computing itself; for example, exploring how to develop more energy efficient systems and infrastructures.

“AI is only one tool in the process of understanding the complexity of climate change, but its ability to process large volumes of data and uncover patterns offers us the opportunity to build greater understanding of the ecosystem.”

I think this is exciting news and can make it easier to navigate on some important topics within the field of artificial intelligence.

In the U for uses they talk of how AI can be used in agriculture.

My third favourite is Y is for you.

It’s impossible to teach a machine the complexity of what it means to be human.”

I think the argument is very clear: “Many of the systems that shape our world also end up shaping our perception of ourselves.”

Ending on a slightly more critical note I would say this is worthy of critique:

“As such, it is up to each person to choose how they interact with AI systems and what information they feel comfortable sharing. How much you allow AI to learn about “you” is controlled by you.”

Their argument here r is false – that it is up to the you how much AI learns about you. Certainly not everyone has a choice, and it seems too much of an easy generalisation. In many cases the individual consumer does not have such an easy way to choose, although unsubscribing or choosing not to receive ads might seem like a choice there are many more instances where the user of a service with applications in the field of AI do not have a choice.

Then again we might say the same about the bus or the train. You could walk to work, but not if the workplace is 6 hours walk and much shorter by public transportation. In this case do you really have a choice? Yes and no, the systems that are constructed around the individual is equally as important (or more) in shaping the decision made by the ‘agent’ — Y for you.

Well, so maybe the alphabet is a start, and I am happy although letters along with simplification can be open to critique. It must not have been an easy task to whittle down the information to be presented within each letter.

Regardless I really hope you check it out:

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 297. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. My current focus for 100 days 200–300 is national and international strategies for artificial intelligence. I have decided to spend the last 25 days of my AI strategy writing to focus mainly on the climate crisis.



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Alex Moltzau

Alex Moltzau

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.