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Artificial Intelligence could save the environment. Not destroy it.

By: Nehemie

Physicist Stephen Hawking,  Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Space X founder Elon Musk have expressed concerns about the possibility that AI could develop to the point that humans could not control it, with Hawking theorizing that this could “spell the end of the human race”

Despite this concern, I don’t think AI will spell the end of he human race. I believe it will save us instead. AI will have pros and cons just like the industrial revolution and other disruptive technologies the world has had before; so, all we need is to be careful on how we use it just like we control nuclear power or any other potentially risky business.

Why we need AI

Simply put, there are lots of things we need that only computers ad robots can not do well. The advantages and disadvantages we get from using technology should all be welcomed because nothing is perfect in its nature. We will ll have to learn how to cope with whatever comes up with AI especially because the need for it will not reduce but increase as days go on. We need AI to: 

Why Rwanda needs AI for the environment 

Like all developed and developing countries will rely on Artificial Intelligence in monitoring weathers, Rwanda will mainly need to use it in forecasting agricultural patterns: notably rain intensities, droughts, crop resilience, irrigation water, pests, and plot sizes.

Protected areas will also need AI for security reasons for endangered animals in the parks [such as lions, rhinos, tigers and elephants], for tourist rescue missions, as well as for forests protection against cutting by illegal charcoal manufacturers.  

We need AI to get updated information about weather changes that affect agricultural yields. Often we don’t know how much rain will fall for the possibility to time cropping seasons and to practice erosion control measures. As a consequence we face devastating disasters like the ones we have had in since 2016.

In 2018 alone, Rwanda had deadly mudslides and floods that too lives of 234 people and wounded 268 more. Artificial Intelligence could help us predict events like these, hence giving us more time to adapt, if not to mitigate. 
Since 2016, Rwanda has tried to fight the effects of climate change hasn’t  found a sustainable remedy. While the solution includes moving away from high risky zones, we need artificial intelligence to help us properly map where the safe zones are and where the risky zones could be in the future. 

What we should do now 

Since Rwanda doesn’t have much information stored in the cloud and hence ready for AI analysis, and since computer literacy is still basic among Rwandans, IT education is crucial in catching up with the world’s leading AI experts if we are to stand tall in the face of environmental issues that are hampering our development.