Photo by @r3dmax

Artificial Intelligence For Our Civilization

For the sake of the argument

We could argue that artificial intelligence is one of the best advancements that have happened for our civilisation. I do not think personally that it is, nor that it is that straightforward, however let me go through some of the positive aspects of the development of artificial intelligence. It is easy to become focused on doom and gloom. I will list a few points that I have written about previously to gather my thoughts and take the stance of an optimist looking at the great things that the field of artificial intelligence can contribute with.

Health & AI

One of the most prominent recent advances in the field of AI was done by DeepMind being able to predict Acute Kidney Disease. This contributed to the too early death of my father-in-law, so I see the clear potential of preventing deaths in this manner through more accurately predicting when a kidney may fail.

Other health applications include image recognition to detect cancer. There has been several attempts at using AI within this field and together with established researchers or through large training data it can ease the way that we detect one of the most common diseases today which many people fear.

Construction & AI

AI can help build better buildings, or hospitals with optimal conditions given the site, Spacemaker AI has developed a technology that can ensure several criteria at the same time. Enabling these technologies and building better buildings may both increase the way it is used and optimisation for light, wind and adaptation in terms of climate. Humans have done these calculations before and they must continue to do so, but AI-assisted solutions can at times be better.

Hardware running software solutions that utilise advancements in the field of AI can reach in places hard by humans or where humans have been breaking their backs to reach or construct. This includes the deep sea, and maintenance is one of the areas where these applications can be explored.

Understanding when a machine breaks down and responsible maintenance of hardware through prediction can make sure we know when it needs to be repaired. This is called predictive maintenance, and may ensure we waste less precious time and resources.

Mobility & AI

Better planning routes or finding solutions for how transportation can flow more smoothly is another question relating to optimisation. This can be done more efficiently with AI and seeing simulations of autonomous driving which integrates solutions within the field of AI shows some promise in reducing queues, saving time and being more fuel efficient than we could be when driving previously.

As such logistics is a large area where solutions within the field of AI will be applied. It seems unlikely that driver who has been responsible of the ‘graveyard shift’ will no longer have to do so, however AI can assist the driver in helping the solutions run more smoothly.

AI is already being used to optimise the way public transportation works in countries like Germany thus attempting to find out the best way to make the most our of your day. When transport arrives on time and more people can use public transportation it enables a more climate friendly solution to work better.

Human mobility could be improved as well for those who are in wheel chairs or struggling with diseases such as Parkinson. OpenAI proved that AI can complete complex tasks like the Rubik’s cube. Although these applications are more likely to make their way into a factory it is not impossible to see the solutions being used to improve human mobility. Is there a new solution that could improve the wheelchair or even make it redundant for some? That is a question which arises thinking of AI and human mobility.

Earth Observation & AI

I mentioned previously in my articles the Amazon forest burning down. Although AI cannot solve the political issues in the area it can help understand how we can address forest fires or the long term plans for forest management. If we are to rebuild our forests and make the planet more lush it will not be possible without a great investment of time and resources.

AI when used with climate data, which often is the case, build models already that helps us predict the weather. We can be thankful with this so that we can prepare when bad weather hits. With increasing amounts of extreme weather this is not any less important.

Monitoring, presuming this is done responsibly while combining different data points around the planet may make us even more aware of just how bad conditions are. We already know the planet is in an increasingly bad state and we know we may have to contribute for the rest of our lives. However we may perhaps know better where to invest more effort or who we can ask to act more responsibly if we gather good data and run models including solutions in the field of AI.

As such we can outline four areas that AI had immediate potential.

  • Health
  • Mobility
  • Construction
  • Earth Observation

Of course I think there are more areas that I would like to include. I am not generally this optimistic, however I thought it would be worth to try.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 141. I write one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days.

What is your favourite solution or way to adress different problems assisted by the field of AI? Please let me know by responding to this text.



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

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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.