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Mark Zuckerberg – AI Can Save Lives In Times Of Disaster

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg broadcasting live from Facebook spaces announced that his company had partnered with the American Red Cross to  aid with the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.  Zuckerberg  explained how   artificial intelligence and satellite imagery were being used to  identify communities where people as as to identify where  aid was required

“We use artificial intelligence to build what we call “population maps” so you can look at satellite imagery of an area and get a sense of where it is  that people actually live and the density of the different places community  and where’s there’s infrastructure going to in those places,” Zuckerberg said. “That’s going to help the Red Cross figure out where people are who need help and figure out how to connect them. and help the relief people connected to the people who need help down there to help out with rebuilding”.

A cartoon like avatar of Mark Zuckerberg  can be seen in a 360  video that teleports to hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico.  In this VR [Virtual Reality] presentation Zuckerberg articulated how virtual reality provided people the “feeling of being in a place” even if they are not physically there.

 

 

 Zuckerberg spoke of Facebook’s commitment to aiding countries in  their recovery effort and spoke of Facebook launching “safety checks” so that people in affected communities could could mark themselves as safe. Part of all the recovery effort was giving people the opportunity to say they need food or were in need of shelter so that people in an around the community could assist.
Zuckerberg sighted his project as an example where AI [Artificial Intelligence]  plays a key role in saving lives and helping with the relief effort.

Zuckerberg also took the opportunity to announce the releasee of Oculus  4[OC 4}] on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at its  developer’s conference.  While not disclosing too much Zuckerberg spoke  of new, fun and exciting features the the  Oculus 4 offered  and judging from Zuckerberg’s exuberance  VR is here to not only stay but its future looks bright.

While Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg efforts must be commended is raises the question as to how affected communities can access real help, food and shelter in times of disasters such as hurricanes, and other natural disasters when power lines, phones and cellular service are more often than not first to go down.

Secondly, such activities assume that everyone has access data. Most people would agree that data is a necessary commodity but the cost of acquiring data makes  it prohibitive especially in poor areas when such development would have the greatest impact .

This argument raises question about whether such development add real value and will they assist in saving lives as articulated by Zuckerberg or are such developments panaceas? Personally, I  think the jury is still out on this one and Zuckerberg [admittedly], Facebook  and his team still have much work to do,