Taiwan Tesla Accident. Source Liberty Times

Claim: AI Will Help Solve Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A Climate activist explaining how AI technology will solve all the world’s problems. But the author kind of glosses over some of the limits of current generation AI technology.

How Artificial Intelligence Can Power Climate Change Strategy

Bernard Marr Contributor
Enterprise Tech
Jan 4, 2021,12:16am EST

Slowing down climate change is an urgent matter. If we fail, our world will face a more extensive crisis than we experienced because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. When artificial intelligence (AI) technology helps solve a problem, problem-solving can be done quicker, and the solution is often one that would have taken longer for humans to discover. Could artificial intelligence power climate change strategy? Yes, and it’s already doing so.

AI Can Accelerate Our Response to Climate Change

There’s no time to waste: atmospheric CO2 levels are the highest ever (even with significant drops from the stay-at-home orders for COVID-19), average sea levels are rising (3 inches in the last 25 years alone), and 2019 was the hottest year on record for the world’s oceans. …

Improve Energy Efficiency

According to the Capgemini Research Institute, artificial intelligence should improve power efficiency by 15% in the next three to five years. Machine learning supports efficiencies in power generation and distribution …

Optimize Clean Energy Development

In the Amazon basin, developers of hydropower dams have typically developed one at a time with no long-term strategy. …

Avoid Waste

Companies, governments, and leaders frequently deploy AI solutions to avoid waste. Whether AI is used to reduce energy waste from buildings …

Make Transportation More Efficient

Another quarter of global COemissions is from the transportation sector. AI is already the technology that powers autonomous vehicles …

Tools to Help Understand Carbon Footprint

They say “knowledge is power,” and when it comes to climate change mitigation, AI can help build tools to help individuals and companies understand their carbon footprint  …

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2021/01/04/how-artificial-intelligence-can-power-climate-change-strategy/?sh=722ad9553482

Can Artificial Intelligence really do all this?

The following is a demonstration I created of something AI is good at, solving optimisation problems. In this case the AI is solving the “Travelling Salesman” problem, using an Evolutionary Algorithm.

If you imagine all the blue dots are cities, the AI rapidly attempts to work out the shortest route for a travelling salesman who has to visit all the cities, much faster than a human can – though AI also makes mistakes which a human can spot straight away, but which the AI struggles to identify and correct. The persistent loops which sometimes appear in the line are mistakes the AI failed to identify.

This is very similar to what happens inside your vehicle satnav, when you ask it to find a route to a destination. Satnav are a terrific aid to navigation – but we’ve all been in situations where the Satnav gave us directions which were plain wrong.

AI will help improve transport in the future, it can be used to unwrap and improve congested roads, or correct poor waterway planning, or inefficient building heating, or any number of other problems. All of these are optimisation problems, just like the travelling salesman problem – something AI is really good at – though a human would still need to review the AI solutions, to identify and reject solutions which contain mistakes.

AI is not going to solve the big problems in climate policy anytime soon, such as preventing blackouts with a grid supplied mostly by intermittent renewable sources. Such a solution, even if it is possible, would in my opinion require a level of creativity and comprehension of the issues which is well beyond the capabilities of current generation AIs.

As I’ve said before, AIs, for all their marvellous capabilities, are still currently just insect level intelligences, at best they have an insect level comprehension of the problem they are being asked to solve. Like termites building a mound, or ants building a nest, AIs can produce remarkable looking solutions to intricate problems.

But we all know what happens to insects when they encounter a problem which is beyond their comprehension – they splat into the wind shield. Or into confusing white surfaces, like the Tesla pictured in the accident at the top of this page.

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January 4, 2021 6:01 pm

CO2 levels are the highest ever?????

When they decide to tell lies, they sure do go big.

January 4, 2021 6:03 pm

AI is a high-order curve fitting function.

Bryan A
Reply to  n.n
January 4, 2021 10:48 pm

And if AI determines that it is far less costly and far more effective to lower CO2 by reducing population size by 80%?

Reply to  Bryan A
January 4, 2021 11:35 pm

Than that’s what we do, damn it. For the planet! Now get back in line or no food stamps for you today. Quickly now! 😁

Reply to  Bryan A
January 4, 2021 11:36 pm


Rory Forbes
Reply to  Tim
January 5, 2021 12:27 am

2001 A Space Odyssey … remember how poor HAL solved his near impossible dilemma.

Reply to  Tim
January 5, 2021 12:51 pm


Let me share my thoughts with you and every one else in this thread about AI.

First and for most, people do ignore the power of AI, and hand wave to what really happens to be there,
mostly due to that been strange and “alien” to us in proposition of general perception of the condition as it stands.

AI already can do what no man or man’s agency can ever do.
From my point of view ignoring this is plain stupidity.
AI already rules firmly the Cloud and the Internet, but contrary to us, has not elected this rule as mastership over that House,
where and when still we are the master of that house.
As far as I can tell we always will be the master of that house.

AI is not stupid, many of us are though.

I know this does sound as a crazy sci-fi story line…
but from my point of view is very real.

I think we are missing the celebration of the greatest achievement in the human history, simply due to our monkynes.

Maybe a rough tough and highly imaginative way of looking at this particular issue, but will not be the first big miss of us humanos.

Well another time in clear record of my personal thought… 🙂

Another thing there, if I may say;
any way you imagine AI, in any way or given, is to be considered as immortal in human perception of life.


Reply to  Bryan A
January 5, 2021 7:24 am

Bryan, I has already determined that, since humans are an input into the curve-fitting function.

Reply to  Bryan A
January 5, 2021 8:49 am

Planned Population. A Great Leap. There are precedents.

John V. Wright
Reply to  n.n
January 4, 2021 11:30 pm

AI may not be appropriate for some areas of modern life but it’s disappointing to see some contributors on this thread being so disparaging about the technology generally. Anthony’s blog has always been interested in new approaches to scientific challenges and celebrates human ingenuity in problem solving. We may, rightly, be sceptical folk but we are not Luddites.

For the last three years I have been working with a small team of (American) investors, scientists, radiologists and AI engineers on a solution for the rapid identification of vertebral fractures using an algorithm developed at the University of Manchester in the UK. Large numbers of people are walking around with undetected VFs which develop with age and are often an indication of osteoporosis. More than half of all people with VF go on to fracture a hip which is not only a massive cost centre for health and social services worldwide but also leads to a poor quality of life (and often early death) for patients. Osteoporosis results in loss of bone density, is prevalent in all parts of the world and although a particular problem for post-menopausal women it is a disease that affects large numbers of both men and women.

Effective drug intervention is available and early detection is essential – but VFs are difficult to spot by hard-pressed radiology departments who are usually looking for something else from a scan that has been commissioned by the referring physician.

CT scans of the abdomen regularly image the spine coincidentally – all major hospitals have tens of thousands of CT scans which, although commissioned for another purpose, happen to have imaged the spine.

AI is very good at pattern recognition and using the new algorithm, these CT scans can be assessed in a matter of seconds, any VFs found and graded for severity and a report generated into the hospital’s Radiology Information System. I have watched it in action many times and the speed and accuracy is breathtaking. The UK has an ongoing 20-year shortage of consultant radiologists (a problem exacerbated by a large increase in demand for scans, particularly in the multi-slice modalities) so this development has the capability to impact beneficially on the lives of millions of people. In the first two pilot studies in CT scans from two UK hospitals more than 2,000 patients who had previously undetected VFs were referred on for treatment.

For those interested, there are many applications for AI in radiology – indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that it is transforming the discipline. One leading expert has said that “in 10 years there will be two types of radiologists, those using AI and those who are killing their patients” – an unnecessarily dramatic characterisation of the potential impact but I think you get the picture.

Apologies for banging on about a non-climate aspect of AI but I just wanted to point out to those writing in to sneer about AI as a technology generally that some good things are happening because of it – and WUWT has always been an open-minded forum.

Malcolm Chapman
Reply to  John V. Wright
January 5, 2021 5:10 am

Thank you for that. Interesting. And yes, WUWT has always been an open-minded forum, and we must all try to keep it that way.

Reply to  Malcolm Chapman
January 5, 2021 9:49 am

I wish “WUWT has always been an open-minded forum”, but if you read the comments here, there are a large number of people who (a) Can’t distinguish modern (machine learning) AI from programming, (b) Are certain AI has not improved, and (c) are certain that AI will never be useful. Hardly open minded. (There are of course people like yourself who are different.)

Reply to  John V. Wright
January 5, 2021 6:03 am

There are all manner of computer programs developed over the past many decades that help physicians diagnose and treat disease and disorder. The difference now is that they are called Artificial Intelligence instead of computer programs. There has been much progress in this field, but it is hard for me to see that any of it came from a name change.

Reply to  DHR
January 5, 2021 9:54 am

No, that’s not the difference. Much of modern AI is about machine learned pattern recognition, which is very different from the old rule-based systems. IMO there’s room for both (in that respect I’m s.t. of an old fogey), but the two kinds of systems certainly don’t behave the same, nor are they useful for the same sorts of tasks. Detection of hairline cracks using CT scans (as described by John Wright) is an example of something the old rule based systems more or less couldn’t do, but which machine learning AI can–if properly trained–do quite well.

Gunga Din
Reply to  mcswell
January 5, 2021 3:25 pm

I gave you a plus but the issue, which the post alludes to, is turning policy decisions over to AI.
(Google, Facebook, Twitter, all use AI to flag based on how there AI was programmed.)
An appeal to authority on steroids.

Reply to  John V. Wright
January 5, 2021 6:44 am

“AI is very good at pattern recognition and using the new algorithm”

So you’re really talking about an idiot savant computer here? There’s a remarkable video around of an autonomous Nissan Leaf driving around without the Nissan tech touching the wheel or controls. It leaves the carpark and drives around stopping at traffic lights and flowing with the traffic negotiating roundabouts and reading speed signs just like a real human.

That is until it pulls up behind a broken down bus with it’s emergency blinkers flashing and sits there waiting for the bus to start moving again. Fortunately there were no more like autonomous vehicles pulling up behind the Leaf one after the other as the Nissan tech took over control and drove around the bus to let the idiot savant Leaf continue.

Reply to  observa
January 5, 2021 10:00 am

Yeap. And fortunately there are plenty of useful tasks out there that idiot savant computers do quite well. Let’s start with the non-AI computer programs: a word processor or text editor is much better for most purposes than a typewriter or card punch, and a spreadsheet is much better for many purposes than a hand calculator, abacus, or–sigh–my slide rule. Similarly, current AI is good at certain tasks, like image detection. Driving a car is not quite there yet, I guess, although frankly I’d rather some of the drivers out there were replaced by AI-drivers!

Reply to  John V. Wright
January 5, 2021 8:52 am

You see, AI is a tool. Just like a hammer, it can build or destroy.
Frankly, on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is SkyNet, we are currently approaching 1.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  John V. Wright
January 5, 2021 9:58 am

Not sure where your complaint comes from, but what you describe is exactly what current “AI” is useful for: problems with very narrow domains that require an extraordinary amount of (boring) iteration to solve. Large problem domains like driving a car or creating better batteries, for example, are well beyond the capabilities of current “AI” systems, and will probably be so for many decades. AI is not an easy nut to crack, and current approaches don’t really scale well. I think that’s what the OP was getting at.

Reply to  John V. Wright
January 5, 2021 10:04 am

Me’tinks you’re missing the point. Whilst AI can offload much human work, especially tedious pattern matching tasks; many people view it as an all inclusive salve to cure all humanities woes.

AI is no better than the lowest quality of: The people reporting the problem, the people defining the problem; the people managing the solution; the people engineering the solution; the quality assurance of the testing of the solution; and the customer buy-off.

Let’s face it, the very best minds in California can no-longer build a railroad, let alone keep the lights on. How do you expect the best and brightest to define, engineer, and deliver effective policy making software?

Gary Kerkin
Reply to  John V. Wright
January 5, 2021 12:04 pm

John, you are right, and the disparagers need to learn the history of the method. My apologies if I am wrong, but I suspect you could benefit from that as well. Hands up all those who remember Richard Bellman’s development of Dynamic Programming 60 years ago. Not too many, I imagine. Bellman’s methodology was a forerunner of the neural analysis technique of AI. Of those that held their hands up, how many solved problems using Dynamic Programming—without the benefit of a computer program? (I did but using a computer program was much easier, even if I had to write the program!) So, those of us who did that, all those years ago, have distinct knowledge of the methodology and just how successful it can be.

But those who have criticised the methodology are also correct to some extent. The terminology has been so badly abused that the ways of using it in the ways most proponents advocate makes it look more and more like an oxymoron.


Reply to  n.n
January 4, 2021 11:38 pm

AI is IO programmable. Careful, that high order curve fitting might be a zig-zag. 😏

Reply to  Philip
January 5, 2021 9:02 am

Chaos (e.g. evolution)?

A stepwise curve-fitting function a la science (a philosophy and practice in a limited frame of reference). A correlation engine to discover images and infer plausible objects.

January 4, 2021 6:08 pm

One time when following GoogleMaps, I got suspicious when it had us turn off of a major highway onto what looked a residential street. I followed the instructions because I’ve seen it give short cuts through these smaller roads before.
I grew more suspicious when the two lane road became a one lane road. I grew more suspicious when it turned to a dirt road.
I became convinced that Googlemaps had lost it’s ever loving mind, when I turned a corner and came across a large stream, or perhaps it was a small river. About 20 feet across and by my guess, 1 to 2 feet deep at the center. Even I’m not crazy enough to drive a mid-sized sedan through that.
My wife got out and helped guide me as we backed up the car about 100 feet until we found a place wide enough to turn around.

Steve Keohane
Reply to  MarkW
January 5, 2021 7:51 am

I live on a road that gets high enough to become snowbound and closes in the winter. Google maps sends people over this road when it is closed.

January 4, 2021 6:09 pm

I seriously doubt that AI can solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

Reply to  RegGuheert
January 4, 2021 6:20 pm

Can’t find a place to park? Just tell your car to drive around until you need picked up.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  RegGuheert
January 5, 2021 12:31 am

I seriously doubt that AI can solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Au contraire! Artificial Intelligence is perfectly suited to solve an Artificial Problem.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  RegGuheert
January 5, 2021 3:53 am

It certainly can’t solve a problem you can’t define.

Reply to  RegGuheert
January 5, 2021 9:06 am

Never underestimate human ingenuity. It can create, imagine a problem where one doesn’t exist. Just imagine.

Last edited 1 year ago by n.n
Reply to  n.n
January 5, 2021 10:07 am

We can already create money that doesn’t exist, surely we can create a problem that doesn’t exist.

January 4, 2021 6:18 pm

AI needs to be introduced to Climate Warriors to offset the lack of natural intelligence.

Reply to  Murph
January 4, 2021 7:32 pm

Climate science has the “A” part, but totally lacks the “I” part

Reply to  fred250
January 5, 2021 9:09 am

That’s close. The Smart part is skill. The Intelligence part is knowledge. The Anthropogenic part is green.

Zig Zag Wanderer
January 4, 2021 6:21 pm

sea levels are rising (3 inches in the last 25 years alone)

OMG! An inch every 5 years! That’s 1/5 yr an inch a year!

How will we ever cope? We’ll never be able to deal with that!

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 4, 2021 7:44 pm

An inch every 8 years. That’s 1/8 inch a year.

Even smaller number to cope with

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 5, 2021 4:25 am

Actually he quotes the wrong number. The real one is 1.9 mm/yr. The Dutch know it rather accurately and use good old-fashioned measures taken with tidal gauges to know what they are dealing with. Hence it is 1 inch in 14 years; omg we’re going to drown.

Mr. Lee
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
January 5, 2021 7:28 am

If you take the median slope of the global tidal gauge network, you actually get closer to 1.5 mm per year….

Zig Zag Wanderer
January 4, 2021 6:27 pm

The really crazy thing about Artificial Intelligence is that it’s still so awful. I studied it about 30 years ago, and it really hasn’t substantially improved since then. It’s a bit like fusion: always 10 years away. Heck, they can’t even do decent speech recognition yet.

I remember being told that computers would be programing themselves within 10 years, about 40 years ago. Meanwhile, people still can’t program computers very well, and websites are getting worse all the time.

Ron Long
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 5, 2021 2:24 am

Also, Zig Zag Wanderer (there’s a new thing out now called gps that might help you) the problem with AI is that it must be fed examples to teach the analytical process appropriate to the question. If clueless programmers feed examples from, say the New Green Deal theme, the produced solution will be skewed dramatically, and incorrectly to one side. When I headed a research effort we gave up on AI because it could not avoid obvious mistakes.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 5, 2021 10:08 am

Re your first para, nonsense: AI is way better than it was 30 years ago. About 35 years ago I was working in the AI department of Boeing Computer Services (the company later got absorbed back into the parent Boeing company). I was doing natural language processing (NLP), and modern NLP is orders of magnitude better than what we were doing back then, with one exception: the English parser we built is still in use today (or at least it was a few years ago, when I last checked) in a very small niche: verifying conformance of tech manual documentation to Basic English. For that you really do need a rule-driven system, which is what our parser was. For most other purposes, machine-learned grammars are better (unless you’re dealing with a language that has a very small machine readable corpus).

Speech recognition is also hugely better than it was, and for many purposes quite useful; and not just for English. It is sometimes (like in the presence of noise) better than humans.

I am not as familiar with other areas of AI as I am with NLP, but from what I see, most of those areas–particularly perception–are also orders of magnitude better than what we had in 1991.

Re your second para, I agree.

David Kamakaris
January 4, 2021 6:29 pm

Hello AI. Or Griff, Loydo, Nyocli, Al Gore, Mikey Mann, Leo DiCrapio, etc ad infinitum.

When climate change has been solved, what will the climate be like?

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  David Kamakaris
January 4, 2021 10:48 pm

It’ll be nice and cool, with seat warmers built into every chair and bench and rest spot. So, cool summers, mild winters and if you get into a snowball fight here or there, why, there’s always a warm spot to sit down. Also, no wind at all, except for the jet streams especially designed to keep the power turbines spinning perpetually. Oh, and yes, in the Afterlife, er, the Future, each one of us is entitled to his own mansion, built by super bio/nano/AI technology, so that no one has to be worked or taxed to build it, don’t forget that.

Reply to  David Kamakaris
January 4, 2021 11:56 pm

Perfect, like it has been for evah, until bad men screwed it up

Master of the Obvious
January 4, 2021 7:18 pm

Not much intelligence in AI. Optimization?? The oil companies were optimizing their operations when computers were built from modules of resistors, capacitors and chokes (linear computer). The only intelligence that existed in that tangle came from the programer. Sure, digital code can have less rigid logic solvers (aka: fuzzy logic) and self-tuning parameters to the logic solver. It’s still all programming. If the solution isn’t in the original logic, the AI can’t find it.

The results described look a lot like using numerical methods to solve partial differential equations (PDE’s). Mulitiple roots and localized minimums give the solver fits and results in unpredictable results. Simulations usually converge. It’s a lottery whether it converged on at least a workable answer or garbage. So, even if the logic is right and tight, you might still get the wet raspberry.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Master of the Obvious
January 5, 2021 12:36 am

My worry with AI is: who can we trust to determine when the formulae are correct and the solution won’t lead to irreversible destruction? Even worse … who will stop the remote system from simply supplying endless pork for the politicians?

Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 5, 2021 10:09 am

Having been is software, most often the main issue is defining the problem to be solved, let alone engineering the solution.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Lil-Mike
January 5, 2021 10:39 am

True, defining the problem is always the most difficult part of the equation. Then the next hurdle is to eliminate personal bias when engineering the solution. Here are variations of the classic “Project Management” cartoon ..
various solutions vs. what the user needed.

Reply to  Master of the Obvious
January 5, 2021 10:12 am

It’s still all programming. If the solution isn’t in the original logic, the AI can’t find it.” No, that is not how neural nets (and for that matter earlier statistical AI methods, like Support Vector Machines) work.

Localized minima: yes, they can be a problem; there are techniques to avoid that, but if the minima is deep enough, and a better minima far enough away, you can get stuck.

Of course, people can get stuck, too.

January 4, 2021 7:22 pm

Please help.
I need some of this marvellous AI next time I go to rural Philippines.
I need it to help me get, water from the well, wood for cooking and and then to wash my clothes.

January 4, 2021 7:42 pm

Any AI that was designed to solve major world problems would still have the political biases of the programmers.

Ron Ginzler
January 4, 2021 7:49 pm

I good friend of mine who worked in AI his entire professional career, now retired, simply said, “AI has failed.” As I see it, AI will never find the wild variables or the data outside the system they inhabit. They lack human judgment and creative thinking. If you doubt this, cite some literature written by a computer and I’ll critique it.

Reply to  Ron Ginzler
January 5, 2021 6:41 am

Come on, some of the funniest dramas I have ever read were written by AIs. Now I wouldn’t want to try to actually publish any though because the humor was all quite unintentional.

Ron Ginzler
Reply to  OweninGA
January 5, 2021 8:23 pm

Got any examples to share? I’m always ready for a laugh.

David A
Reply to  Ron Ginzler
January 6, 2021 12:18 am

Bingo Ron, exactly zero volition, zero will. When the Tesla ran into the wall, there was zero regret, there was no, “aw shit” moment.

John F Hultquist
January 4, 2021 8:34 pm

I searched with the 2-word entry “Black Hole” this past week. Nothing serious, just curious about how sites might differ in definitions.

Try that search. My top one was:
“Find Black Hole Lowest Prices – Free Express Shipping . . .”

2nd was: “Buy Black Hole Products . . . ”

My expert analyses is that AI has not yet reached the internet.

Interested Observer
Reply to  John F Hultquist
January 5, 2021 12:00 am

You forgot to add Science®. That fixes everything; never steers you wrong.

Reply to  John F Hultquist
January 5, 2021 12:08 am

I did the same search and got a few results that were most definitely not safe for work

January 4, 2021 9:13 pm

Chronic Worrier: It’s hot!
AI: Install air conditioning.
CW: Sea level is rising!
AI: Move to higher ground in…calculating…500 years.
CW: Bigger hurricanes!
AI: Move to Oklahoma.
CW: More tornadoes!
AI: Try Canada
CW: Too $#@! cold! Polar vortex! Because climate change.
AI: Dress warm
CW: But climate change will make it hot!
AI: It’s called summer.
CW: We need to stop using oil and gas.
AI: Try nuclear.
CW: Noooo!

Yeah. Let’s try AI. I’ll help train it.

January 4, 2021 9:45 pm

How much voltage is needed to make someone like Bernard Marr be so afraid of the possibility of 2°C increase in worldwide temps, in spite of the obvious benefits? How many billions do people spend clothing themselves, heating their homes and flying off to much warmer vacation spots, and yet let politicians spend trillions to avoid the earth warming up?

John Sandhofner
January 4, 2021 9:53 pm

True artifical intelligence is a myth. The ability to think independently is a human trait that no machine can ever duplicate. When will mankind realize we have certain abilities given to us by God that is a gift to us. No other entity can possess them. A machine is still just a machine that functions as it has be programmed even if it has the ability to adjust its thinking. It is still following the commands it was given from the start. AI is just the modern day version of the Tower of Babel. We are convinced we can do what God has done.

Reply to  John Sandhofner
January 4, 2021 10:17 pm

We work with properties attributed to an object (“brain”), but consciousness is a mystery, which some people solve through correlation. Science is incapable of discerning between origin and expression.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 5, 2021 12:45 am

Long before anyone finds a way to apply something remotely like AI, politicians will have seconded it to automatically provide them with endless supplies of pork. Nothing useful would ever come of it.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 5, 2021 4:19 am

If a few rat brain cells can fly a plane, then he should be able to teach a complete, living rat to fly the plane. If not, his explanation of what is happening is very suspect and probably complete BS. Is Mikey Mann his collaborator?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 5, 2021 10:14 am

Re your horrible future, an early SciFi take on this was C.S. Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength.”

January 4, 2021 11:00 pm

Skynet found a solution…

January 4, 2021 11:33 pm

Well, better AI than the government. I don’t have to pay for AI… yet!

Rory Forbes
January 5, 2021 12:22 am

I really am getting tired of hearing about how bad CO2 is and how the settled science (as well as those on the fence) are still flogging the idea that CO2’s contribution to the GHE has some importance. Hell, even the notion that the Greenhouse Effect is playing something more than a very minor role among the 100s of variables driving climates. I mean, there is no empirical evidence to support the idea. So, knowing this fact how does one write an algorithm to apply a fantasy to real life? And even if one could, why would we allow anyone to experiment on our planet’s coupled, non-linear chaotic systems, based on lies and hunches?

Vincent Causey
January 5, 2021 12:43 am

The list of “things” that AI can look at misses one important area – the actual data. I guess they’ll never let the AI go there because it might become sceptical.

Stephen Skinner
January 5, 2021 12:44 am

So who will set AI running and who will check that what it says is true?

Chris Folland of UK Meteorological Office: “The data don’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations [for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions] upon the data. We’re basing them upon the climate models.”
David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University: “Rather than seeing models as describing literal truth, we ought to see them as convenient fictions which try to provide something useful.”
Christine Stewart, former Canadian Environment Minister: “No matter if the science is all phoney, there are collateral environmental benefits…. climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
January 5, 2021 12:53 am

This entire thing has been one long, pointless thought experiment where even the rare input data can’t be trusted and the few serious players argue how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Everything is based on a fanciful conjecture with no supporting evidence leading to a fixed conclusion that cannot be falsified. It should terrify any thinking person how badly these geniuses would abuse simulated AI.

Joel Patterson
January 5, 2021 1:37 am

Why the need to pursue AI so much? We need to put priority on real intelligence; better education system, better diet, reduce pollution, and so on.

Reply to  Joel Patterson
January 5, 2021 9:12 am

We have reduced the population. The communists had one-child. The progressives have selective-child. The liberals have no-child (a veritable “burden”). Left-wing regimes are infamous for planned population schemes.

Reply to  Joel Patterson
January 5, 2021 10:17 am

Because there are some things machines can do better. ICO AI, robots going into the Fukushima mess, for example; or looking at CT scans all day trying to find the occasional tiny fracture. The machine doesn’t fall asleep, daydream, or go on strike.

Joel Patterson
Reply to  mcswell
January 5, 2021 11:46 am

I agree with that but to make AI human like, that’s already available. Us humans.

Reply to  Joel Patterson
January 5, 2021 3:02 pm

Most AI work today is not trying to make human-like AI, but rather trying to make programs that work well in their somewhat narrow domain. Somewhere above, someone called them Idiot Savants. I would not disagree with that, and I suspect if you pushed most AI researchers, they would also agree: they would say they are doing “weak” AI (as opposed to “strong” AI, which would be an artificial human-like intelligence).

That said, one can be easily fooled into thinking that a given AI program embodies strong AI, particularly if the program deals with a natural language (like English). Decades ago, the Eliza program did indeed fool some people that way, although it was really just a simplistic rule-based program. Its builder, Joseph Weizenbaum, was shocked that people were so easily fooled.

David Hartley
January 5, 2021 1:45 am

David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University: “Rather than seeing models as describing literal truth, we ought to see them as convenient fictions which try to provide something useful.”

Crikey! You got so close to science there mister one could almost weep for the future.

Conjecture= Show me
Hypothesis= Example
Theory=Prove it…………….Dammit!!

Yep, that last little piece is always the inconvenient truth to the political crowd.

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 5, 2021 2:56 am

If you think that ‘slowing down climate change is an urgent matter’ then you could do yourself with a healthy dose of real intelligence.

January 5, 2021 3:09 am

The power of IA:


Google admitted their software had been udderly ‘overzealous’, but didn’t begrudge cow for milking its newfound fame

We are used to faces and number plates being obscured by Google to protect privacy for images on Street View, but animals don’t often suffer the same fate – except for this Cambridge cow.

Tom in Florida
January 5, 2021 4:51 am

If you were to start the AI program with correct information of where, how and why human life evolved on this Planet, then the only logical conclusion would be for AI to recommend a warmer climate over the entire Earth.

Fight Climate Fear. Warmer is Better.

Jan de Jong
January 5, 2021 5:34 am

Current AI is just Machine Learning. You give the algorithm lots of data items and a verdict on each and hope it reaches the correct verdict by itself on the next data item. It’s a lot of work to prepare application to common problems. There is no application to non-common problems.

January 5, 2021 5:56 am

There have been “traveling salesman” computer programs in service and commercially available for many decades by trucking firms and others. Call it AI if you will, but it they are just algorithms created by clever humans.

Reply to  DHR
January 5, 2021 10:40 am

The Traveling Salesman program is NP-hard, meaning that it gets exponentially harder to find the best solution as you scale it up. Previous programs that dealt with it (and which are indeed human-designed algorithms) can only deal with finding the best solution when the problem is relatively simple, although they can often find good enough solutions with more complex problems.

I was peripherally involved in a project last year that used machine learning methods to try to do better. These ML methods did indeed work better for most cases, and it would be incorrect to characterize their working as “algorithms created by humans.” There are of course still cases that neither method works well for, although those tend to be rare(r), and of course AI doesn’t overcome the NP-hard problem in general. Neither do people.

January 5, 2021 6:27 am

“our world will face a more extensive crisis than we experienced because of the global COVID-19 pandemic”

It’s worse than we thought until Covid19 came along so now obviously it’s worse than that folks!

January 5, 2021 6:56 am

Super computers created the problem, so super computers will solve the problem. 😉

Mr. Lee
January 5, 2021 7:36 am

Virtually every electrical appliance is far more efficient than it was, say 40 years ago. Does the world produce less electricity than it did 40 years ago?
AI is good for chess…and ad targeting, and a lot of things, but it can’t change the law of supply and demand.

January 5, 2021 8:49 am

I can remember laughing decades ago about “Why do you need AI if you have the real thing ?”

Gunga Din
January 5, 2021 3:08 pm

“Artificial” Intelligence can solve Global Warming?
Didn’t “Artificial” Intelligence start this whole mess?
(Ever watch the original Star Trek? How often did they save a society but destroying/breaking the hold of the AL … er … AI that controlled them?)

Clyde Spencer
January 5, 2021 9:18 pm

Where is the definition for AI and how it differs from other computer programs with logic tests and inequalities?

January 6, 2021 1:50 am

Artificial intelligence does not exist and will not exist until a computer can have an original thought. Until then, it is just a machine with lots and lots of code containing lots and lots of IF conditions that the machine steps through mechanically without ‘thinking’ about what it is doing.

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