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How AI Can And Will Predict Disasters

By Lisa Garcia posted Wed July 22, 2020 07:35 AM


Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) may someday help to relieve major global environmental changes, as researchers and scientists are investigating how powerful algorithms and machines with "learning" skills could tackle some of the greatest challenges humanity has ever met. 

Whether challenging climate change, helping biodiversity, or cleaning seas and air, AI could assist people in better understanding what is occurring on the planet.

Recently, disaster flexibility has been an increasingly popular area where AI technology could be harnessed to know how, when, and where real disasters occur.

Through various ways, AI systems could support people to monitor levels, mitigate risks, reduce impacts, and save lives.

Within the past couple of months, everything we used to take for granted about our lives has either been put on hold or canceled indefinitely, and even mundane tasks like a trip to the grocery store have become tense, planned experiences in order to stay safe and keep our families healthy.

All of this stay-at-home action lately is starting to wear a bit thin, to say the least, but one thing we can all do to feel better is make exciting future plans for a time when we're able to resume our normal activities. For many, this can mean planning a much-needed vacation to an exotic destination (which, at this point, means "anywhere but our living room couch!") However, no matter how well you can plan things, there's always a chance that something unexpected will occur to derail your good time on vacation. Plan all you want, but there's always a possibility that inclement weather, a vehicle breakdown, losing your luggage, or some other travel catastrophe will ruin what was supposed to be a relaxing getaway. Wouldn't it be nice if there were some sort of algorithm that could predict the odds of various travel calamities and help you tighten your plans until they are almost disaster-proof? Good news- in the not-too-distant future, we may be able to do just that!

Predictive algorithms are already in use by numerous consumer platforms, health care providers, insurance companies, and more. These algorithms work to predict people's future behaviors, preferences, and needs based on past choices. Predictive analytics can help companies determine everything from what kind of automotive part needs to be replaced next on your car to which pair of pants you're more likely to buy online. By including predictive algorithms on a website or mobile app, companies can also gather important data about their consumers to help them streamline their practices to better serve their target audiences' needs.

Since predictive simulations are already pretty widely used, it's not a stretch to imagine that such a simulation could be developed to help a person plan the perfect vacation free from any fun-ruining hiccups or bumps in the road. Imagine being able to run through a simulation of a vacation that hasn't even happened yet to pinpoint any trouble spots. You'd be able to make important corrections that would help you avoid any issues when it's time to take the trip in real life! For instance…

Avoid Airline Anguish

Let's say you're taking a trip that involves getting on a plane and flying to your travel destination. Think of all the things this entails. First, you need to be sure you're going to get to the airport on time, which, according to TSA recommendations, is at least two hours prior to your scheduled departure time. In order to do that successfully, you'll need to know what traffic is like so you can plan accordingly. This hypothetical algorithm would need to provide an accurate look at traffic patterns and any road construction hazards or accidents that could prevent you from arriving on time.

Congratulations- you've made it to the airport with at least two hours to spare! But wait- is your flight still scheduled to arrive on time? No worries- thanks to your vacation simulator, you've examined the likelihood of getting bumped or rescheduled based on ATC data, weather patterns, and other predictive data, and used that information to book your flight at a time where delays and cancellations are least likely to occur. Looks like smooth sailing ahead! (Now, if you get stuck in an airline seat next to that guy who wants to tell you his life story, we're sorry but we can't help you out there!)

Rectify Road Trip Ruin

Hitting the open road in your new Nissan with a couple of your best buddies? Fun!...At least, there's the potential for fun as long as something wrecks your road trip vacation. We'd hate to sound like Debbie Downer here, but there are a few things that could go really wrong on a driving trip. However, a computer simulation designed to mitigate the chances of roadside disaster, you'd have a little extra insurance that your trip would be awesome from start to finish! A road trip algorithm could help you simulate your journey, taking note of important checkpoints like gas stations or restaurants along your route so that nobody gets "hangry" or runs out of gas.

Predictive modeling could also help you to determine the likelihood of experiencing a breakdown, based on the age of your Nissan car, how many miles you've put on it, and how long it's been since your last routine service check. You'd even be able to decide which of your friends to choose as your alternate drivers (as well as which ones to politely ask not to drive) based on data from their insurance and driving records. The future looks bright for road trips once we get simulations like this in place- until then, just choose your road trip mates wisely and invest in an extended car warranty or mechanical breakdown coverage.

Extended warranties are actually either Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (in California) or a Vehicle Service contract (in the rest of the USA). Best to learn about it now, rather than having to learn much more about nissan extended warranty after an emergency.

Fight Freak Accidents and Phenomena

For most travelers, if your plane lands without a hitch, you find your baggage at the carousel on the first try, and you're able to easily find your way to your hotel, you're off to a great start! But there are those nervous vacationers out there who tend to worry about the probability of some seriously freakish occurrences robbing them of a good time. To these folks, we say take heart! Technology will someday make it possible for you to run a trip simulation that can help you answer some of your burning questions, such as, "What are the odds of a shark attack? How can I prevent being mugged? What are the chances of being attacked by a shark while I'm being mugged?"

Those of you who are worried about contracting food poisoning while staying at your five-star hotel will be able to rest a little easier once you can compute the probability of that happening on your vacation. (On the other hand, those of you who ask the same question about the gas station sushi you just wolfed down on your road trip probably won't like what you see.)

In theory, since we're already able to build computer simulations that pull in data from huge warehouses just chock full of information, we can build one that breaks down every possible mishap that can statistically occur on a vacation. This means that, theoretically, we can someday make the travel experience virtually foolproof. In the meantime, the best we can do is plan ahead, take necessary safety precautions, and be prepared for any circumstances we can think of that could keep us from having the best vacation ever!

AI and ML methods could potentially save millions of lives when it comes to managing, early-detecting, and prognosticating disasters. But, as for any innovation that comes out of this emerging technology, the AI-based operations still need to go through multiple safety tests to prove their readiness for holistic and real-life implementations.