Another dot in the blogosphere?

The Age of AI 5

Posted on: January 21, 2020


Video source

This episode of the YouTube Original series on artificial intelligence (AI) was way out there. It focused on how AI might help us live on another planet. What follows are my notes on the episode.

If NASA’s plan to send humans to Mars by 2033 is to happen, various forms of AI need to be sent ahead to build habitats for life and work.

Current construction relies on experience and historical knowledge. AI-enabled construction (AKA generative design) compares and predicts how different designs might operate in Mars.

Side note: Closer to home, generative design also helps us make predictions by answering our what-if questions. What if this structure is placed here? What if there is more of them?

Other than modelling possibilities, AI that builds must not just follow instructions but also react, make decisions, and problem-solve. A likely issue on Mars is using and replenishing resources. One building material is a biopolymer partly synthesised from maize. If AI is to farm corn in Mars, what might it learn from how we do it on Earth?

The video segued to the Netherlands which has the world’s second-highest fresh food production despite its small size. It owes this ability in large part to the AI-informed agricultural techniques developed at Wageningen University.

Most folk will probably relate to how developing AI for Mars actually helps us live life better on earth. It has the capacity to help us think and operate better in terms of how we consume and deploy resources. Imagine how much the rest of the world would benefit from scaling up the techniques developed in the Netherlands.

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