Microsoft: Protecting biodiversity through artificial intelligence

European Business & Biodiversity Campaign - News

Microsoft: Protecting biodiversity through artificial intelligence

The IT company would like to make well-founded ecological decisions possible through the use of machine learning. Environmental data from all over the world are to be collected and processed in a new "Planetary Computer". The goal is to accelerate data processing and the resulting decisions and actions in order to promote the protection of species more effectively.

© Microsoft
To protect biodiversity, a deep understanding of our ecosystems and the species they contain is essential. But it takes time to gather this knowledge. With the establishment of the  Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2012, a first global survey was launched. It was not until seven years later that the first global study was published - citing more than 15,000 scientific sources. However, as time is running out, it is important that we find faster and more efficient access to environmental data.

Microsoft sees a significant development in data analysis based on machine learning. According to the company, the new "Planetary Computer" is supposed to revolutionize knowledge acquisition through technological application and make it faster and cheaper. One example is the tracking of wild animal populations. Information from satellite data and photos taken by hobby and professional biologists will be identified by artificial intelligence.

In addition to these new technologies, the company also wants to actively participate in the policy debate on ecosystem issues "that we believe can advance global efforts to protect and restore ecosystems," said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft. Finally, he said Microsoft will also improve its own environmental performance: "We will take responsibility for the impact of our own sites on ecosystems by protecting more land than we use by 2025."

Author: GNF