Biodiversity… the next challenge for the GPAI

In 2022, the GPAI experts want to extend their thinking on climate change to include biodiversity as it continues its work on reducing CO2 emissions.

Co-chaired by Raja Chatila, the former Director of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and IT Ethics at Sorbonne University, the Responsible AI working group has made major progress this year… in just three short months! The climate committee co-chaired by Nicolas Miailhe and Raja Chatila has enlisted the expertise of two organisations of volunteers from academia: Climate Change AI in the USA, and the Centre for Climate & AI in Great Britain. This collaboration led to the publication of a document detailing the types of climate change-related action that could be implemented. “We invited companies working on practical projects related to reducing the effects of climate change to provide us with a number of use cases so that we could base our work on the realities of the corporate world”, explains Raja Chatila. A number of recommendations emerged from this work, including the need to support AI-based applications with the potential to combat, and adapt to, climate change.

The reduction in CO2 emissions is central to the recommendations of the GPAI Responsible AI working group, and so will be the focus for further study in 2022. The international organisation also plans to extend its work to include biodiversity issues next year. “We have to realise that climate change is having a direct impact on biodiversity, and we can see that clearly with the extinction of entire species, particularly in certain regions of the world”, explains Raja Chatila. “It really is a question of survival for every form of life on Earth”. The 2022 ambition for this GPAI working group will therefore be to investigate and gain a clearer understanding of how AI tools can be used to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the environment and biodiversity.

The scope covered by these applications is sufficiently broad to answer questions such as: Which regions will become arid? Which regions are at risk of flooding? Which geographic locations could experience permanent climate change? “Using data, we will pursue our ambition of predicting how the situation will evolve under the effects of these changes to the climate, with the ultimate aim of informing public policy making”, explains Raja Chatila.

The co-chair of the Responsible AI Working Group points out that his intention is not only to involve the governments of GPAI member countries, but also those currently outside the GPAI, to encourage genuinely international cooperation around these issues. “We intend to bring forward proposals to national governments so that the initiatives and resources which are so often fragmented at present can be pooled, coordinated and encouraged by new policies. Lastly, we want to promote interaction between the private and public sectors to ensure that those resources put in place are more efficient as a result of such cooperation”, he concludes.

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