Artificial intelligence is now everywhere in our lives. But what we know a little less is that AI can have virtues to help protect the environment. This is particularly what is being played out at the moment in the Amazon, a territory that covers a large part of the Brazilian northwest and extends as far as Colombia.
Technology can help preserve biodiversity
While illegal logging threatens this great green lung of the planet, a technology comes to the aid of nature protectors. In the Brazilian state of Acre, indigenous forest agents belonging to the Shanenawa people use drones and GPS monitoring coupled with an extremely sophisticated AI system.
According Positive News, this tool was developed by Microsoft which collaborates here with the Brazilian non-profit organization Imazon. Their device works and can identify anyone who tries to attack the trees.
This system is now used by several companies, detail our colleagues, and it allows very rapid interventions. The temptation to clear the Amazon is very strong locally, especially among farmers who try to plant palm trees there in order to produce the highly demanded palm oil.
This is not the first time that we have spoken to you about the use of artificial intelligence to protect the environment. To cite an example, we mentioned last year this detection algorithm capable of automatically counting elephants in Africa from space via satellite images.
It is Olga Isupova, researcher at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, who is at the origin of this project. She explained thus: Accurate monitoring is essential if we are to save the species. We need to know where the animals are and how many there are. »
The results were clearly there, since the researchers indicated that their AI obtains a high level of precision comparable to human detection. The efficiency should further improve as the resolution of the images progresses over time.
The stakes are high because biodiversity is threatened. According to figures shared by the French government, around 1.8 million different species have been described on our planet, including 280,000 in the seas and oceans.. Man is clearly responsible, since according to scientists, the current rate of their disappearance is 100 to 1000 times higher than the natural rate of extinction.
Also note that AI has already been used to spot pieces of plastic in the oceans. You can read our article on this very useful innovation here.