SYPWAI
2 min readFeb 1, 2022

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AI and the study of deserts

Deserts and semi-deserts are the least inhabited territories of the earth, the average density does not exceed one person per 4–5 m2. And desertification is a very serious problem because if an area becomes arid, its biological productivity decreases radically. Artificial intelligence can come to the rescue of this problem and tell mankind much more about deserts than has been known up to this point.

Most recently, the network was excited by the news that artificial intelligence has discovered more than 1.8 billion trees in the Sahara Desert. And most people are sure that almost nothing grows on these territories. And until recently, this was confirmed by scarce scientific data. This is not surprising — it is almost impossible to identify trees on ordinary satellite images — they remain invisible. And AI helps detect them and even do a rough calculation.
This helps:
а better understanding of the planet’s global carbon balance;
understanding the importance of trees to biodiversity and ecosystems;
combating desertification — scientists can understand which trees feel at ease in arid areas and can grow no matter what.

Going forward, the research will expand the count to a much larger area in Africa. And in the long term, there are plans to create a global database of all trees growing outside of forested areas. And this is an important step in preventing desertification.

The emergence of new deserts and the expansion of desert areas is another serious problem for modern humanity. Previously, efforts to prevent desertification focused on costly manual solutions. A young Chinese scientist, Huangzhi, has developed a robot with artificial intelligence to automate the tree-planting process. It is capable of identifying optimal locations and planting and watering seedlings.
This desert robot is a prime example of the growing availability of artificial intelligence. More than 4 million developers are now using Baidu’s open-source AI technology to create solutions that can improve the lives of people in their communities. And the prospects for artificial intelligence are staggering.

AI technologies have enormous potential when it comes to documenting change and planning stages of development on a global scale. They can help humanity achieve global climate goals.

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