How can we use ai for good?

  • 13 April 2022
  • 7 replies
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Hi everyone,

 

We often hear the phrase of AI for good but I would be interested to know what examples everyone has seen and what ideas you have for doing more.

Here at Peak we do a lot of work with Fareshare, who redistribute surplus food to charities that turn it into meals. We are helping them to understand their data better, for example to get better engagement with their suppliers by creating a portal allowing Farshare to produce personalised impact reports so that suppliers can see the difference that they are making.

Looking forward to hearing your stories….


7 replies

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I think there’s tons of really important stuff that can be done around emissions efficiency in supply chains and logistics solutions, it’s something where an ML solution can really provide win-win answers where we improve customer’s bottom line but also reduce their carbon footprint. 

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I worked on a project using AI to improve learning from patient safety events within the NHS. Pretty cool and rewarding stuff, with a particularly interesting anonymisation of free text problem within it!

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I saw this beginning whilst I was working in the Space Industry, but the use of AI in processing satellite imagery is an area where ‘AI for good’ can have a significant impact. From monitoring climate change, re/deforestation activities and wildlife conversatio, to detecting plant disease, natural disasters and predicting wildfires, the combination of imagery and AI is a very exciting space!

Once worked with a group of teenagers and they came up with a chatbot which employed a predictive model to detect high anxiety and depression and help derive the users to the most appropriate channel - counselling, school teacher, peers or parents. Done in a hackathon over the course of 3 weeks - this was organised by this group: International Women's Day Hack 2022 - Teens in AI. this and many other examples are replicable across different cultures, locations and settings, but typically are not fully developed since they would have low commercial value - yet massive wellbeing impact.

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Once worked with a group of teenagers and they came up with a chatbot which employed a predictive model to detect high anxiety and depression and help derive the users to the most appropriate channel - counselling, school teacher, peers or parents. Done in a hackathon over the course of 3 weeks - this was organised by this group: International Women's Day Hack 2022 - Teens in AI. this and many other examples are replicable across different cultures, locations and settings, but typically are not fully developed since they would have low commercial value - yet massive wellbeing impact.

This is an amazing story! nice one Hugo!

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In addition to thinking about applications where use of AI can deliver a (positive) benefit, I think it's also important that data scientists and other researchers think about how “not” to use AI, too.

As practitioners, it's important for us to continue to criticise the full life cycle of an application (including data collection) from perspectives other than just its (ML) performance metrics: Are there any privacy concerns? Is this going to replace someone's job? What are the consequences if the model goes wrong? We're good at doing this already, but as AI and machine learning adoption becomes more and more widespread across lots of different disciplines, it's only going to become more important that we continue to proactively think about these kinds of things as a community.

Most of this is probably very obvious, and -- again -- we do it already, but it’s definitely a super important part of using AI for good.

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Work at a charity for below market rate!

Many charities would love to have a DS on staff and would benefit massively but they often just don’t have the money to hire us because the market is so hot. If you’re more concerned about impact than money, contacting a charity whose work you love and arranging to work for them for below market rate is a great way to make impact with your career.

There are 3rd party organisations that evaluate how effective charities are at acheiving their goals (biggest one being https://www.givewell.org/). These charities are among the most impactful in the world and I know for a fact that many of them would love to hear from a DS interested in making a difference

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