The website This Climate Does Not Exist offers users a unique experience in empathy
Montreal, October 14, 2021 – Concerned by the sharp rise in natural disasters around the world, a team of AI researchers at Mila is launching a website that lets people see the potential impact of climate change on any address, anywhere on the planet.
A different type of simulation
This Climate Does Not Exist invites users to project themselves into environments transformed by climate change. What would a place look like if it was hit by flooding, wildfires or smog? Using a complex algorithm, the site generates a realistic filter of the effects of climate change on any location in Google Street View. The experience raises awareness in users about the possible scenarios if the world’s response to climate change continues to fall short.
“If nothing is done soon, we can expect major climate disturbances,” says Yoshua Bengio, Mila’s scientific director and head of the research team behind This Climate Does Not Exist. “By showing images of how climate change could affect the places we hold dear, this website makes the risks of climate change that much more real and personal. We hope this will motivate people to take action to prevent the worst-case scenarios from coming true.”
The site uses a class of algorithms called generative adversarial networks, or GANs. Originally designed by researchers at Mila, GANs are now being used widely to generate highly realistic images. In this way, artificial intelligence is being harnessed in the global fight against climate change.
The project is the culmination of two years of work and has mobilized over 30 specialists and collaborators under the direction of Yoshua Bengio, including lead researchers Sasha Luccioni, Victor Schmidt and Alex Hernandez-Garcia. It was made possible through financial and technological contributions from the National Geographic Society, Microsoft, BCG Gamma and Borealis AI. The team would also like to thank the Université de Montréal, Google and Climate Outreach for their support.
Artificial intelligence in the service of humanity and the environment
This Climate Does Not Exist is an initiative of Mila’s AI for Humanity branch, which aims to contribute to social dialogue and the development of applications that will benefit society. Other initiatives include using AI to search for molecules to use in creating new drugs (LambdaZero), and combatting human trafficking in Canada. All of these projects follow “open science” principles, meaning that all models and tools created are free and available for anyone to use.
Founded by Professor Yoshua Bengio of the University of Montreal, Mila is an artificial intelligence research institute that brings together over 700 researchers specializing in machine learning and deep learning. Based in Montreal, Mila’s mission is to be a global hub for scientific advances that inspire innovation and development of AI for the benefit of all. Mila is a non-profit organization recognized worldwide for its significant contributions to the field of deep learning, particularly in language modeling, machine translation, object recognition, and generative models. For more information, visit mila.quebec.
Information and interview requests :