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Artificial Intelligence and Water (Part 1)

At the beginning of 2023, I read "Bridging the AI gap", said to be the first book written by Artificial Intelligence (AI) itself, following the AI questions, concepts, and algorithms by Aggarwal, A. and R. (2022). In my opinion, the worldwide revolution that AI will bring to the planet and our civilization is inevitable.


What about water and artificial intelligence? This is what I have been asking myself insistently.


The water issue is at the base of our sustainable development model and the life of the planet. There are already numerous developments and applications of the Internet of Things, machine learning, robotics, neural networks, data mining, and expert systems, focused on the analysis of climatological data and water resource systems, water management at various scales, maintenance and operation of hydraulic systems and equipment, and a wide range of topics that allow us to adapt to climate change through gray and green infrastructure.

With intelligence comes power. What would be the power of an artificial intelligence capable of controlling the hydrological cycle and hydraulic systems that supply the multifunctional uses that move the wheel of our society? What would happen with that power in the wrong hands?

Original AI image from www.geospatialworld.net


How likely is this to happen? What role will water experts play in training artificial intelligence?


I hope to answer many of these questions in these "AI and water" columns, which I start today.


On March 22, 2023, the world's leading experts in artificial intelligence signed an open letter titled "Pause Giant AI Experiments," which raises the main arguments for asking AI laboratories to pause for at least six months the training of more powerful systems than GPT-4. Read the letter at this link: https://futureoflife.org/open-letter/pause-giant-ai-experiments/


The date of the letter coincided with World Water Day, but this did not stop me from adding my name and signature immediately, as I share the concern about the lack of control of such a magnificent power and force.


In my water profession, I have had the fortune of thoroughly knowing the field of public and corporate policies, the strategic level, the planning and alignment of resources on clear objectives, water risk management, and the establishment of control, management, and governance protocols for water. Not all water solutions are at the operational, engineering, and technology level; the main problem is often political, strategic, and sociological.


In AI, it is the same, according to experts such as Max Tegmark (2023). It is no coincidence that the open letter identifies the political and regulatory aspects as the main gaps that currently characterize the development and training of AI.


Is there really hope for a pause before it is too late with the most powerful AI?


I recognize the exhaustion that contemporary society is experiencing. Han (2010) indicates that fatigue is such that there is no longer time to contemplate, that there is too much noise and a lack of silence. And, on the other hand, does anyone think about stopping, intuiting that another company, group, or country will continue its developments without pause?


We are slow as a species to think, dialogue, and act accordingly and in community.


Therefore, it is essential to continue the important work of researching, applying, and publicizing these issues. Our commitment and responsibility must be greater. Here I will tell you what we are already working on in the water sector.


This column was published in La Hora GT on 04/17/2023. Please visit this link: https://lahora.gt/opinion/marco-morales/2023/04/17/la-inteligencia-artificial-y-el-agua-parte-1/


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