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Tracking Deforestation with Crowd-Driven AI App

SAS and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), an independent, international research institute that is known for its expertise in systems analysis and providing policy solutions and baseline information on pressing concerns for humanity are implementing the next generation of crowd-driven artificial intelligence (AI) to help power AI algorithms designed to help us better understand our planet.

SAS and IIASA are jointly launching an online crowd source-driven app to gather the collective intelligence of the crowd. They are asking volunteers – an army of citizen scientists from middle school students in today’s virtual classrooms to artists, engineers and professional data scientists – to kick-start this effort by reviewing and judging images of the rainforest. These images show land untouched and land that may have been affected by human development. Crowdsourcing helps improve the AI algorithms, expediting what used to take years to analyze, thus helping to drive vital policy responses to protect our forests more quickly.

With the power of the crowd and the computer combined, SAS and IIASA will have a robust, extensive platform for empowering citizen scientists to assist in cutting-edge research that helps us all better understand, predict and thrive in the world we share. While the first phase of this partnership focuses on deforestation, there are plans to extend this platform to other environmental concerns where crowdsourcing can help serve the greater good.

As a start, everyone can play a role in making AI smarter and improve its ability to help protect our forests. From students who are currently out of the classroom to AI professionals and everyone in between, this activity allows each of us to make a difference just by looking at a few images. Head to sas.com/rainforest to categorize images that show signs of deforestation and help models learn and improve at each iteration.