F E A T U R E
A pplications of artificial intelligence (AI) are not futuristic possibilities. AI is all around us, from the facial biometric software your smartphone uses to recognize you, to the algorithms behind your Netflix dashboard suggesting what to watch next. Some engineers and geoscientists have embraced AI tools to help solve the biggest challenges facing us today, from finding new deposits of valuable minerals, to optimizing mining processes and operating mine vehicles, to predicting areas at the highest risk of natural disasters. AI applications are not as widespread in geoscience as in other industries, such as finance, but acceptance is growing. A challenge common to all geoscience problems is organizing huge volumes of data. AI applications such as machine learning and cognitive AI help make sense of data by organizing, automating and accelerating data processing in ways similar to the human brain: gathering information, making connections, forming models, and learning from each iteration to make the next one better. MAPPING GEOHAZARDS A Vancouver-based AI company, Minerva Intelligence Inc., is applying cognitive AI techniques to solve both mineral exploration challenges and predictive geohazard applications. Cognitive AI represents human knowledge on computers and reasons with it to solve complex problems. T op : At least 16,000 cubic metres of debris crashed down on the Sea-to-Sky highway on July 29, 2008. P hoto : D r . E rik E berhardt , P.E ng . M iddle A nd B ottom : Screenshots of Minerva's GAIA Landslide application, which uses a proprietary form of AI to help users identify landslides before they happen. I mages : D ave B igelow , P.E ng ./M inerva I ntelligence .
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