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Google launches AI-powered flood alerts to save lives in India

Google's AI-powered flood warnings combine computational power with a ton of data to generate accurate results.

Published onSeptember 25, 2018

A flood alert using Google's AI-powered system.
  • Google has launched AI-powered flood alerts in India.
  • The company is running “hundreds of thousands” of simulations in order to produce more accurate alerts.
  • The search firm intends to bring AI-powered flood alerts to other countries as well.

AI is arguably overhyped on smartphones, but it’s undoubtedly changing the world around us in numerous ways. Google is proving this with the launch of AI-powered flood alerts in India.

The feature uses computational power to deliver more accurate flood warnings, Google noted in a blog post. A ton of other information is fed into Google’s models too, such as historical events, water level readings, and the region’s topography.

The Mountain View company says it then runs “hundreds of thousands” of simulations for a location. From these simulations, it’s able to gauge when and where a flood will occur, and the severity of the event.

A conventional flood simulation in India (L) versus Google’s AI-powered simulation. Google

Google is already using the technology to power flood warnings in the Patna region of India. The company is hoping to bring AI-powered flood alerts to other countries as well, but it didn’t give a timeline for availability.

This could be one of the best uses yet for AI technology, as it has the potential to help governments effectively allocate resources and plan accordingly. The technology might be a life-saver for other natural disasters too, such as tsunamis, drought and wildfires.

In fact, Japan’s Fujitsu has already been testing the use of AI to predict tsunamis in the city of Kawasaki. Meanwhile, two students in the U.S. are using Google’s TensorFlow machine learning framework to predict wildfires in the country.

Can you think of any other innovative uses for AI? Let us know in the comments below.

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