The artificial intelligence It is called to be the great technological revolution of the coming years not only in the business world, but also in the social field, with applications ranging from the early detection of cancer to the fight against deforestation in the Amazon.
One of the big technology companies that are betting more strongly for this technology is Google , which recently announced that it will allocate US $ 25 million to help organizations that use artificial intelligence to "solve social, humanitarian and environmental problems".
One of these applications, promoted from within the company itself, is the use of automatic learning ("machine learning") in a microscope to help detect cancer, the programming technician explained. Google Bob McDonald.
"We use a camera that receives the same images as the researcher through a microscope, and these images reach a computer that has 'learned' to predict where the cancer cells are located, if any," he said. McDonald.
In this way, the machine is responsible for carrying out a repetitive task with a high cost of time such as the analysis of samples and, in case of finding signs of cancer, alerts a human researcher.
According to project managers, artificial intelligence can be up to twice as fast as the human eye, and even more accurate in the detection of small tumors (micrometastasis).
Along with medicine, the environment can be another of the great beneficiaries of this type of technology based on computers learn, after having analyzed huge amounts of data, to make their own decisions replicating the judgment of a human.
Rainforest Connection is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting forests and forests from deforestation using acoustic signals collected by old mobile phones hidden at the top of trees, about 30 meters away, and analyzed by artificial intelligence.
The telephones are always activated, so that when noises are detected from trucks or electric saws, the computer that processes the information immediately notifies the authorities and organizations dedicated to the protection of the forests.
"In this way, numerous illegal logging can be prevented, instead of acting when the damage is already done," said the founder and CEO of that NGO, Topher White, who was invited by Google to promote his idea in the facilities that the company has in Sunnyvale (California, United States).
The phones – all donated by volunteers – operate for years on the top of the trees, having a shell made of solar panels that constantly recharges the battery and in turn protects them from the harsh environmental conditions of the jungle like humidity. the rain and the heat.
Currently, Rainforest Connection has some 130 telephones placed in countries of the Amazon such as Brazil and Ecuador, as well as Indonesia and several points in Africa, which in total cover about 2,000 square kilometers of jungle areas, a figure that they plan to triple next year.
Another application of environmental nature of artificial intelligence is carried out by the NGO Global Fishing Watch, dedicated to obtain accurate information on who fishing and how much does it, among other variables, to inform governments and international organizations, and fight against overfishing.
"We take satellite images that, once analyzed by artificial intelligence, allow us to identify and track the movements of up to 60,000 fishing vessels around the world to know where and when they are fishing," said the organization's research director, David Kroodsma. .