Visualizing the Impacts of Climate Change (VICC) project aims to raise the awareness and conceptual understanding of climate change by bringing the future closer.
Climate change will have very diverse and disastrous consequences, increasing frequency and magnitude of extreme climate events such as floods, droughts, hurricanes or wildfires. This is why researchers at Mila are working on different projects using Artificial Intelligence to mitigate climate change and its consequences. In particular, a team lead by Mila’s Scientific Director Yoshua Bengio is working on creating visualizations of its impact. By making extreme climate event predictions more personal and visceral, they aim to help the public better understand how different scenarios will affect them.
In this context, ClimatePix is a simple mobile and web application designed to gather pictures of such extreme events. Anyone, be it individuals, photographers, NGOs, local communities or administrations, can anonymously upload images of how these events have affected their homes and neighbourhoods.
ClimatePix empowers the public with a concrete and easy way to contribute to research on the mitigation of climate change. By uploading how natural disasters have already affected their lives, they can help ClimatePix create visualizations from climate forecasts of extreme events, which could impact their and others lives.
The data gathered anonymously through the app will help researchers develop state-of-the art machine learning algorithms that will be at the core of the visualization tool. These unsupervised generative algorithms will be trained on images, including the ones collected via ClimatePix, and will learn how different parts of a street (trees, houses, roads, people etc) are visually altered after an extreme climate event occurs. As more data is collected, the algorithms will get better at transforming new images of houses that may be affected by climate change, simulating the potential consequences of extreme events at vulnerable locations.
Bringing together researchers from various areas and with the help of users contributing through the ClimatePix app, the VICC project aims to design an educational tool that will produce accurate and vivid renderings of the future outcomes of climate change as they are likely to affect individuals.
Help mitigate climate change by sending your images: https://climatepix.mila.quebec/!
This story was featured in the AICan Bulletin. Subscribe to the bi-monthly email publication to keep up to date on AI in Canada.