Artificial Intelligence Now Being Used to Predict the Next Big Earthquake

29 October 2018 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

The New York Times reported that “with the help of artificial intelligence, a growing number of scientists say changes in the way they can analyze massive amounts of seismic data can help them better understand earthquakes, anticipate how they will behave, and provide quicker and more accurate early warnings.”  The October 26, 2018 article entitled “A.I. Is Helping Scientists Predict When and Where the Next Big Earthquake Will Be” included these comments:

The new A.I.-related earthquake research is leaning on neural networks, the same technology that has accelerated the progress of everything from talking digital assistants to driverless cars.

Loosely modeled on the web of neurons in the human brain, a neural network is a complex mathematical system that can learn tasks on its own.

Scientists say seismic data is remarkably similar to the audio data that companies like Google and Amazon use in training neural networks to recognize spoken commands on coffee-table digital assistants like Alexa.

When studying earthquakes, it is the computer looking for patterns in mountains of data rather than relying on the weary eyes of a scientist.

Not everyone agrees including Philip Stark (an associate dean at the University of California, Berkeley, at the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences) who:

… describes the overall system of earthquake probabilities as “somewhere between meaningless and misleading” and has called for it to be scrapped.

What do you think?

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