Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence

EarthTalk: How Is Artificial Intelligence Being Used For Conservation?

While some may be concerned that AI requires advanced software engineers to manage, it is actually now more accessible than ever. As long as the AI software to conduct conservation research tasks is set up correctly, researchers believe that anyone can easily utilize it with point-and-click tools.

Of course, AI is not a simple solution. Researchers predict that the training data required for AI machines to generate results can range up to hundreds of thousands of examples and details. Though AI can process data at much higher rates than humans, humans still have to monitor it to ensure accuracy.

For example, AI software processing images or audio recordings can produce false positives that will require trained analysts to remove manually. In spite of this disadvantage, scientists do not believe that the AI program always has to be perfectly accurate. “We just have to know exactly how accurate it is,” says conservation biologist Marc Travers.

Although the future of AI in environmental conservation appears promising, it cannot completely replace humans. The modern climate crisis is truly a crisis of lifestyle, with which mankind has turned nature into its very own factory. To heal that split and mold a harmonic, mutually beneficial balance between nature and mankind, humans need to be in the thick of it. Like Peter Ersts, a software developer at the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, says, “We can’t fully replace people yet, and nor should we.”