Future Positive
Future Positive
Dec 20, 2020
Using AI to Protect the Planet
Play • 49 min

In this modern age of technology, artificial intelligence has the unique ability to shed light on environmentally destructive practices while providing solutions to help protect our world. In today’s episode recorded at AI for Good, a global summit hosted by ITU and XPRIZE, Marcius Extavour, Executive Director of Prize Operations on Energy and Resources here at XPRIZE, chats with Andrew Zolli, Vice President of Global Impact at Planet, and Sasha Luccioni, a Postdoctoral Researcher at Mila Labs. Urgent action is needed to combat climate change, and today’s conversation will focus not only on identifying solutions for the sustainable use of our planet’s resources but will help us re-imagine the future of earth with AI. 


Sasha Luccioni, is a Postdoctoral Researcher working with Yoshua Bengio and others on a project that uses Artificial Intelligence to visualize the consequences of climate change. Sasha also leads various climate change-related initiatives at Mila, including projects that aim to estimate the environmental impact of Machine Learning and to analyze financial disclosures from a climate standpoint.


Her work sits at the intersection of AI and the environment with the goal to find ways to maximize the positive impacts of AI while minimizing the negative ones - be it from a research or application perspective. She is also involved in general ‘AI for Good’ projects and has been working with the United Nations and the World Health Organization to figure out ways in which AI can help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.


She publishes under her full name, Alexandra Luccioni, and you can find a full list of her publications here. Her work has been featured in various news and media outlets such as MIT Technology Review, WIRED and the Wall Street Journal, among others, for her work on the environmental impact of AI and how to reduce it. She is also a 2020 National Geographic Explorer and holds an IVADO postdoctoral scholarship.


Andrew Zolli is the Vice President of Global Impact at Planet, a space and AI-driven organization known for having deployed the largest constellation of Earth-observing satellites in history. These satellites image the entire surface of the Earth, every day, at 3m/pixel resolution. 


Andrew works to ensure Planet's data and capabilities are used to deliver breakthrough sustainable development, climate, public health, humanitarian, and human rights outcomes. He also helps the company design and implement data and AI-related ethics policies and programs. Beyond Planet, Andrew works broadly on issues of foresight, innovation, and systemic and social resilience.


Marcius Extavour is a leader and expert working at the intersection of science, technology and public policy. At XPRIZE he leads environment, energy, and climate work, including the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a global competition to recycle CO2 into valuable products. Before joining XPRIZE he was focused on technology and policy in clean energy as an independent consultant, at the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, in the Canadian electric power sector, and in academia. Dr. Extavour holds a PhD and MSc in quantum optics and atomic physics, and a BASc in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. Outside of the office and the lab Dr. Extavour loves teaching, the intersection of art and science, and is active in engaging young and early-career scientists interested in careers outside of academia.


Links:

xprize.org/blog



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