Betting on artificial intelligence to guide earthquake response
A startup company in California is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to advise fire departments about how to plan for earthquakes and respond to them.
The company, One Concern, hopes its algorithms can take a lot of the guesswork out of the planning process for disaster response by making accurate predictions about earthquake damage. It's one of a handful of companies rolling out artificial intelligence and machine learning systems that could help predict and respond to floods, cyber-attacks and other large-scale disasters.
Nicole Hu, One Concern's chief technology officer, says the key is to feed the computers three main categories of data.
The first is data about homes and other buildings, such as what materials they're made of, when they were built and how likely they are to collapse when the ground starts shaking.
The next category is data about the natural environment. For example, "What is the soil like? What is the elevation like? What is the general humidity like?" explains Hu.
"The third thing we look at is live instant data," she says, such as the magnitude of the quake, the traffic in the area of the quake and the weather at the time of the quake.