Natural disasters cause thousands of deaths and hundreds of billions of dollars in property damage every year. Finding a way to reduce the impact of these catastrophes to save lives and protect infrastructure has puzzled experts for decades. However, detecting natural disasters with artificial intelligence (AI) is a promising way forward. Using AI for disaster management can save communities, lives and livelihoods.
As AI improves, researchers have begun experimenting with using AI systems in natural disaster detection. Research shows that artificial intelligence can analyze mountains of information to track the patterns and intensity of weather phenomena.
People have used AI to assist industries ranging from healthcare to customer service for years, and the same principles apply when using this technology to predict natural disasters. Scientists provide AI systems with comprehensive and high-quality datasets based on previous events. The AI then uses these datasets with real-time seismic data, geographical information and satellite imagery to discover patterns.
Currently, AI can predict four types of natural disasters, including:
While the future of AI predicting natural disasters is exciting, these systems do have their limitations. Researchers are still trying to develop a way to predict flooding with AI by using rainfall records and flood simulations. Floods and other hydrological events affect more people globally than other natural disasters, but AI is still far from preventing flood-related emergencies.
AI systems also function on datasets from past natural disasters. As climate change accelerates, the trends and intensity of earthquakes, floods and hurricanes are also changing. Until researchers can factor climate change into weather-predicting AI, the long-term accuracy of these systems remains uncertain.
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