April 13, 2021

Date: April 13, 2021

Time: 12:00 PM

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AI Here and There: Transatlantic Dialogues on Artificial Intelligence, Society and Innovation. In the past decade Artificial Intelligence (AI) has quietly and quickly become prominent in our daily lives, whether we have realized it or not. AI has made itself indispensable: in our private lives, in the workplace, in sports, and even art. However there are only a select few that know what AI really is about and what this means for us as a society. This four part event series aims at introducing the subject of AI to a broad audience. Each event will be focused on different subjects. Since this is a global topic, we took this opportunity in stride to invite panelists both locally and internationally from Switzerland and the US.

Event 2: AI for Sustainability: a tool to save our planet?

April 13, 2021, 12:00-1:00pm EST

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AI is an integral part of our everyday lives. As such, it also plays a role in the mounting climate emergency. For example, training a single large natural language processing model can consume as much energy as a car over its entire lifetime. At the same time, AI can help mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. For example by helping to understand complex weather patterns and climate systems to improve climate change projections. This second event of the four-part event series ā€œAI Here and Thereā€ will focus on the question if AI can be a tool for sustainability that can help us save our planet. Perspectives from both Switzerland and the US will be brought to the table.




Carrol Plummer is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vivent, an ag-tech business that aims to deliver autonomous horticulture systems for growers and speed up product development for agrochemical companies so that we can grow healthy food with less environmental impact. She is an experienced entrepreneur focused on deep tech innovations. She has lots of experience in B2B markets with complex distribution channels and is happiest working with colleagues on solving challenging problems. Carrol Plummer is excited to be exploring how understanding information flows in biology can lead to breakthroughs in agriculture, human health and biofilm management. She has an MBA from INSEAD and is a Mechanical engineer from Banff, Canada but now lives in Western Switzerland. Find out more about Vivent inĀ this portraitĀ of three Swiss start-ups at the forefront of ā€˜green techā€™ – technological innovations that enable more sustainable farming practices.


Fernando Perez-Cruz is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Computer Science of ETH Zurich and Chief Data Scientist at the Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC). SDSC is a joint venture between EPFL and ETH Zurich. The Centerā€™s mission is to accelerate the use of data science and machine learning techniques within academic disciplines of the ETH Domain, the Swiss academic community at large, and the industrial sector. A multi-disciplinary team of senior data scientists and experts in domains such as personalized health and medicine, earth and environmental science, social science and digital humanities, as well as economics enables collaboration on both academic and industrial projects.Ā  Prof. Perez-Cruz received a PhD. in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Madrid. He has been a member of the technical staff at Bell Labs and a Machine Learning Research Scientist at Amazon. He has been a visiting professor at Princeton University under a Marie Curie Fellowship and an associate professor at University Carlos III in Madrid. He has also held positions at the Gatsby Unit (London), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (Tuebingen), BioWulf Technologies (New York).


Eric NostĀ is Assistant Professor in Geography, Environment and Geomatics atĀ University of Guelph. He researches how data technologies inform conservation, drawing on the fields of political ecology, science and technology studies, and digital geographies. New kinds of data-generating sensors and data-synthesizing algorithms are becoming central to everyday life and may prove transformational at a policy-level as well. A key challenge for geographers in the coming years is assessing these technologiesā€™ promise to help society solve sustainability issues related to food security, climate change adaptation, and ecosystem services conservation. Nost is a member of the coordinating committee for theĀ Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, working to buildĀ civic technologies and infrastructures that make data and decision-making moreĀ accessibleĀ and tracking how the U.S. federal government portrays climate change and other issues on the web.Ā He received a Ph.D. in geography (2018) from the University of Wisconsinā€“Madison.


Venkatramani Balaji has headed the Modeling Systems Division at Princeton Universityā€™s Cooperative Institute on Modeling the Earth System (CIMES) since 2003, and is Associate Faculty the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (PICSciE) and the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI). With a background in physics and climate science, he has also become an expert in the area of parallel computing and scientific infrastructure. He is co-chair of the WGCM Infrastructure Panel (WIP), tasked with developing the scientific requirements for the global data infrastructure underlying the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), a pillar of the IPCC Assessment Reports of the state of the Earthā€™s climate. In 2017, he was among the first recipients of French President Macronā€™s Make Our Planet Great Again award marking the second anniversary of the Paris Climate Accord. He has served on scientific advisory panels for the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the MaxPlanck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, and is currently on the Science Review Group of the UK Met Office Hadley Centre. He is a sought-after speaker and lecturer and is committed to provide training in the use of climate models in developing nations, leading workshops for advanced students and researchers in South Africa and India. Dr. V. Balaji has an M.Sc in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a Ph.D in Physics from the Ohio State University.



Mona Sloane

Adjunct Professor; Senior Research Scientist, NYU Center for Responsible AI


Digitalisation offers new opportunities for diplomacy, poverty reduction and sustainable development. But there are also risks involved in the processing of vast amounts of data, the spread of fake news and surveillance. By adopting the Digital Foreign Policy Strategy 2021ā€“2024, Switzerland is acknowledging digitalization as a thematic priority of its foreign policy. The world is constantly changing and needs a hub, in other words a space that brings together all states, businesses and citizens ā€“ all directly affected by the new challenges of digitalisation. International Geneva is a hub for digital governance. The goal is to promote transparent debate, strengthen international law and encourage international cooperation in dealing with abuses and surveillance, while paying heed to public opinion, and to increase the benefits of new technologies. This virtual Series ā€œAI Here & Thereā€ contributes to this inclusive discussion.


Related Links

NYU Tandon Events CalendarĀ 

First Event: Tracing Artificial Intelligence in Our Everyday Lives

Center for Responsible AI kicks off an important transatlantic dialogue

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