AI Supporting The Earth

This pale blue dot is all we have. As Carl Sagan said, “There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.”

There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

Carl Sagan
A Pale Blue Dot | The Planetary Society

As inhabitants of this planet, we face considerable challenges. The most recent United Nations Global Environment Outlook warns “urgent action at an unprecedented scale” is needed to protect our global ecosystems. Though the stakes are dire, advanced technology is helping address some of the most critical issues we face. As we celebrate Earth Day here at Intel, I’d like to highlight a few of the artificial intelligence (AI) projects that we’re working on to help solve environmental problems.

Saving the Whales

Since 2017, Intel has been collaborating with Parley for the Oceans* and a team of marine biologists to collect the mucus exhaled from whales when they surface to breathe, and utilizing AI technology to analyze indicators of the whale’s health in real time. By developing a greater understanding of what’s threatening their ecosystem, we can better protect whales. Learn more about the Parley* SnotBot and see behind the scenes with the team working on the project.

Monitoring Deforestation

Moving from the oceans to land, Intel Software Innovator Rosemarie Day is an IoT DevOps engineer and the winner of last fall’s Intel® AI Interplanetary Challenge. Day developed a model to retrieve data from LandSat satellites and combine it with other data sources, like localized weather, to monitor and evaluate deforestation using TensorFlow*. Rosemarie’s work shows how AI can be used to classify plants and analyze deforestation and growth, providing a more informed view of how the world is changing over time. By examining numerous factors, scientists can assess urbanization trends, human health issues, and the magnitude of deforestation over different regions.

Protecting Human Resources

Obtaining clean drinking water can be a difficult and costly problem for many in our world. Peter Ma, another Intel Software Innovator, is using AI and high definition cameras for bacteria classification to ensure safety in water sources. Confirming a clean water source typically requires expensive testing equipment and manual analysis of the results. For regions in the world in which access to clean water is a continuing problem, simpler test methods could dramatically help prevent diseases, save lives, and reduce environmental impact. Started in 2017, the Clean Water AI project has utilized the Intel® Movidius™ Neural Compute Stick to perform water testing in real time with an inexpensive portable system.

Every year, a large number of crops are damaged by pathogen attacks. Farmers suffer huge losses due to severe infestation. To combat this issue and increase yields, proper identification of diseases is the first step toward treatment. Using the Intel® RealSense Camera, TensorFlow*, and the OpenVINO™ toolkit, AI Academy member Risab Biswas is creating an accurate and simple methodology to help farmers identify pathological plant diseases in tea plants and their proper control measures, thereby helping reduce acreage needed for production.

Stopping Poachers

Stopping poachers before they can kill endangered animals is no easy task. Central Africa has lost 64 percent of its elephant population in the last decade. Non-profit RESOLVE’s* new TrailGuard AI* camera uses Intel technology to detect poachers entering Africa’s wildlife reserves and alert park rangers in near-real time. TrailGuard AI builds on previously anti-poaching prototypes and uses deep neural network algorithms to allow the device to recognize humans and vehicles with a high degree of accuracy. With the first-generation camera, rangers had to manually review photos to determine if there was a poaching threat or a false-positive triggered by other motion. By adding an additional layer of AI into the system with the tiny yet powerful Intel® Movidius™ Myriad™ 2 VPU, TrailGuard AI now can detect when a potential poacher is present, allowing park rangers to rapidly intercept and apprehend the animal killers.

Intel AI for Social Good: Putting an End to Poaching

Supporting Social Good

Intel is committed to advancing uses of AI that positively impact our world by providing mission driven organizations with technologies and expertise to accelerate their work.

Read more on how AI is helping us better understand the environment and check out Intel’s AI4SocialGood page to see additional projects. We are excited to continue to explore additional ways we can help protect this pale blue dot of ours.

Notices and Disclaimers