Google is using AI for flood forecasting in India

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Flood alerts
Image Courtesy: Google
AI-assisted Flood forecasting is now functional in India.

Every year, a significant proportion of Indians are drastically affected by floods. Since Google Public Alert became functional, it has been trying its best to warn people about the impending natural calamities.

Google has now partnered with Central Water Commission of India to issue warnings of the upcoming floods. It is the first time the company is collaborating with an agency to make sure that the people are alerted at the right time. Google is taking baby steps; the service is currently only available in the Patna region.

Google executive Matias said:

”A variety of elements — from historical events to river level readings, to the terrain and elevation of a specific area — feed into our models,” writes Matias. “With this information, we’ve created river flood forecasting models that can more accurately predict not only when and where a flood might occur, but the severity of the event as well”

Flood Forecast
These images depict a flood simulation of a river in Hyderabad, India. The left side uses publicly available data while the right side uses Google data and technology. Our models contain higher resolution, accuracy, and up-to-date information.
Google

Artificial Intelligence is being incorporated in various sectors. Using AI to forecast floods is one of the most efficient ways to save the public from the potentially fatal disaster. ”One concern” has come up with an AI dataset called Seismic Concern that measures the intensity and damage caused by Earthquakes. This assists the relief workers in analyzing how much and what type of aid is required in which region.

Moreover, Facebook’s ”mark yourself safe” feature is helping people across different cities and countries to know whether their loved ones are safe or not. We know that the feature isn’t as useful as it ought to be as many of the people do not even use it but it is still something, for what it’s worth.

But not everyone is a fan of what AI is capable of doing. Last year, Tesla’s CEO  Musk warned the US governors saying:

“exposure to the most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it.” It will hit us one day that AI has a much darker potential presence in our lives, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,”

For now, researchers are trying to save a significant number of lives using the AI. Many of you might agree to what Musk said but is it really what the future is going to bring? We can never be really sure about it.

Google will be expanding the outreach and functionality of the alerts to other regions of India and also to other parts of the world sometime later.

We hope that Google’s this feature proves to be the knight in the shining armor that this world needs when the natural disasters hit.

Do let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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