10 Ways AI Was Used for Good This Year

Artificial Intelligence does not necessarily threaten humans. You can also work with us to solve big problems. Still a little wary of algorithms? We’ve rounded up some stories from the past year that demonstrate the many ways this technology can have a positive impact.

Tackling climate change.

This year, AI has revealed its potential as a powerful tool to prevent climate change from causing irreversible damage to the world, requiring more than just a solution. Researchers visualize future impacts of floods and wildfires; climate decision making; AI is being used to monitor forests and share data. Other climate projects powered by artificial intelligence include building digital twins of the planet to map different warming mitigation policies and thinning sea ice.

Improving access to nutrition and water.

Without access to a variety of foods, people around the world are at risk of malnutrition and other health problems. The new model pinpoints areas where populations are more likely to suffer from malnutrition. Meanwhile, access to clean water in many American cities is hampered by the presence of toxic lead pipes. A new algorithm is helping local governments detect and eliminate these underground hazards by predicting which homes are most likely to have them.

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Searching for deadly weapons.

Landmines kill thousands of people every year. But researchers are working on a system that uses drone footage and machine learning to safely remove unexploded bombs remotely. Yes, Although drones can also be used for nefarious purposes themselves. But another AI algorithm inspired by the eye of a fly can detect these threats.

Extreme video game players

An AI program beat human video game champions in the hyper-realistic racing game Gran Turismo. This allows the game’s developers to give opponents the automated in-game enemies they deserve. In addition, Self-driving car researchers could use the program’s success to inspire their own work in the real world.

Diagnosing life-threatening health problems.

This year, researchers completed a large-scale field test of an AI program to detect sepsis, one of the leading causes of death in hospitals. Results suggest that the program can reduce health complications and deaths while receiving positive feedback from medical professionals who use it. Human diseases aren’t the only disease AI can combat—another algorithm was used to detect bacterial infections in olive trees.

Cracking the protein code.

Every function in the human body relies on proteins, consisting of long chains of amino acids, which form complex structures that carry out the tasks encoded by our genes. But predicting what shape that chain will take is difficult and can take years to solve if you’re human. Last summer, Google’s company DeepMind used its AI program AlphaFold to predict the molecular structures of all known proteins. This is approximately 200 million protein conformations. This huge breakthrough solves some of the most pressing problems in biology, earning the creators of AI a $3 million Breakthrough Prize.

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Wine and beer reviews.

Do you want to preview the experience of drinking dry white wine or sour cherry juice? By aggregating existing reviews and combining them into summaries, language generation AI can help you decide what to drink. Its creators say the program can be expanded to include reviews of many other products.

Prediction of pandemic potential viruses.

As the weather gets colder, the number of people infected with Covid-19 rises again. To find out what the disease-causing coronavirus will do next; Researchers are using AI tools to predict when a new strain like Omicron will emerge and become dominant. Such predictive tools can do more than help manage the current epidemic. Other algorithms are planned to examine viruses currently circulating in the animal kingdom, allowing them to jump to humans for potential viruses that could help researchers avoid the next pandemic.

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Suppression of illicit drug development.

Novel designer drugs can produce effects similar to known recreational drugs, but they have small molecular differences. Because designer versions are chemically different from the original drugs, They may override some government regulations. They can also have unexpected adverse effects on health. Banning these elements in many molecules requires regulators to play a game of whack-a-mole—but now AI is stepping in. The researchers used the algorithm to generate a database of potential molecules. This allows governments to proactively ban these harmful substances.

Protecting Biodiversity.

Technology and nature are often thought of as opposing forces in conflict. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Artificial intelligence algorithms can analyze data from endangered ecosystems to measure the biodiversity of that environment—and to support conservation projects run by indigenous groups. Facial recognition, an AI-powered technology, helps researchers unobtrusively observe the solitary routines of mountain lions.


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