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How AI is Becoming Part of the Fight Against California Wildfires

NBC Bay Area logo NBC Bay Area 5/24/2022
© Provided by NBC Bay Area

The five largest wildfires in the history of California happened between 2018 and 2021, all five in Northern California, according to Cal Fire. Now artificial intelligence is becoming part of the firefight.

Founder of artificial intelligence company H20.ai, Sri Ambati, talked with NBC Bay Area about how AI technology is helping aid in the fight against expensive and potentially deadly wildfires.

Climate change is a major obstacle. It continues to threaten not only our community but our wildlife and forests. Factors such as wind, drought, lightning and humans all can start and spread a fire.

H20.ai created a contest called the Wildfire Challenge to encourage the greatest minds from around the world to develop applications that will help predict and prevent wildfires. Ambati says new developments will not only help today’s society but also future generations.

"I think that is where we truly want to empower a billion entrepreneurs and founders with the purpose to use AI and to solve a problem that is of big value," he said. "Climate and saving planet Earth is so important for us. The next generation is looking at us to rise up and do something awesome to protect nature, and I think that AI is a force for good in that, and we are super excited to be empowering the next generation to solve problems of high value."

The teams were challenged with creating an app that would in some way help predict the behavior of wildfires, predict where the wildfires will start and reduce the loss of life and property from wildfires.

Find out more about the challenge at https://h2o.ai/.

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