Artificial Intelligence for the Earth

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having a big impact on our society, changing the way we work, live and interact. AI is not only playing a significant role in our everyday lives, but could have a critical role in transforming the way we tackle climate change. The focus of this CONNECT University session will be on the importance of harnessing AI to benefit humankind, unlocking new solutions for our society’s most pressing environmental challenges. In the same time, we will discuss about the importance of developing a safe AI in all aspects, including for our planet.

Background information

This event is part of the CONNECT University Summer School 2021 on Digital for our Planet that aims to present cutting-edge innovations addressing how can digital technologies be harnessed to tackle climate change, both in terms of a greener digital system, as well as their role in helping reducing carbon emissions across industries. Check this blogpost for the full programme and more information. 

Artificial Intelligence for the Earth

Speakers

  • Cécile Huet, European Commission, DG CONNECT Deputy Head of Unit, A1. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Unit 

Cécile Huet is Deputy Head of the Unit “Robotics and Artificial Intelligence” at the European Commission. This unit funds and assists beneficial robotics and AI developments within Europe. The unit is in charge of one of the world’s largest civilian programme in robotics with a budget of €700 million EU funding from Horizon 2020, supplemented by €2.1 billion from the European robotics industry in the context of the Robotics Public-Private Partnership. The unit is coordinating the preparation of the AI activities in the next funding programmes, Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programmes. Currently the unit is working with the stakeholders on the next Partnership on AI, data and Robotics, defining the strategic research, development, innovation and deployment for Europe in these fields. Moreover, this unit is at the heart of the Communication on Artificial Intelligence for Europe, the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence and the Communication on Building Trust in Human-Centric Artificial Intelligence. Cécile joined the unit since its creation in 2004. Previously, she worked for the industry in signal processing after a post-doc at the University of California Santa Barbara and a PhD at University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. In 2015, she has been selected as one of the “25 women in robotics you need to know about”.

  • Philippe Singer, Managing Director & Co-Founder of Leaders for Climate Action 

Title of the presentation: Why it needs a global community to fight the climate crisis

Dr Singer started his first Impact startup when he was 18 and imported fair traded and recycled bags from Cambodia, investing part of the revenue into drinking water projects. For 8 years he has been building companies with his co-founder, best friend and flatmate, Timo Müller (29 years old). After they sold the first company, a gifting startup called “Joidy” in 2018, they decided to fully focus on the most pressing issue of our time, the climate crisis.

  • Sylwia Giepmans-Stepien, EU government affairs and Public Policy Manager, Google 

Title of the presentation: Applying AI for climate change mitigation and adaptation

Sylwia Giepmans-Stepien is the EU government affairs and public policy manager at Google in Brussels. She works with the EU stakeholders and institutions to unleash the economic and social potential of the Internet and Google in Europe. She leads Google’s public policy advocacy in Brussels on Artificial Intelligence, economic policy including competition, as well as sustainability. Prior to joining Google in 2012, Sylwia was a senior project manager at the Lisbon Council, a leading Brussels-based knowledge economy think tank. Before that she served as a junior officer at the Ministry of Economy in Warsaw where she was in charge of EU economic affairs and represented Poland in the Council of EU. She holds masters degrees in political science and European politics and policies, and graduated summa cum laude from KU Leuven, Belgium, and Warsaw University, Poland. She speaks fluent Polish, English, Dutch and also some French and Italian.

  • Alberto Arribas Herranz, Microsoft’s Sustainability Science Lead for Europe

Title of the presentation: AI for Earth

Alberto Arribas is Microsoft’s Sustainability Science Lead for Europe. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Reading’s world-leading Atmospheric Science department. Alberto has a PhD in Climate Modelling and a Diploma in Strategy and Innovation by the University of Oxford.

Prior to Microsoft, Alberto worked at the UK Met Office where he led R&D for near-term climate prediction and founded the Informatics Lab, an innovation department where he led several research projects with top teams in the Technology industry (DeepMind, Microsoft’s AI for Earth, AWS).

His research has been published in over fifty papers and received various awards. He is a member of the European Environment Agency (EEA) Scientific Committee; Member of the UK Natural Environment Research Council Digital Environment Steering Committee;  Expert reviewer for the UK Parliament Office for Science and Technology; Expert Reviewer for the European Commission in the area of Future and Emerging Technologies.