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Artificial Intelligence for Environmental Sustainability: Connecting Land Conflicts and Policies

Omdena is an innovation platform for building AI solutions to real-world problems through the power of bottom up collaboration. Omdena’s projects run for two-month and are a unique opportunity to work with AI practitioners and mentors around the world to solve grand challenges through collaboration. Omdena works together with WRI, WFP , UNHCR, SDG Global summit AI for good. Building AI for Good, By the People, For the People

Every second week they host a new challenge where a global community of AI engineers and enthusiasts collaborates to solve social problems through AI.

Among the latest one is Artificial Intelligence for environmental sustainability. Connecting Land Conflicts and Policies

Why: AI for environmental sustainability

Land degradation affects 3.2 billion people and costs the global economy about 10 percent of the gross product each year. While dozens of countries have committed to restore 350 million hectares of degraded land, land disputes are a major barrier to effective implementation. Without streamlined access to land use rights, landowners are not able to implement sustainable land-use practices. The problem’s scale requires a scalable solution. In India, where 21 million hectares of land have been committed to the restoration, land conflicts affect more than 3 million people each year. Luckily, AI and machine learning offer tremendous potential to not only identify land-use conflicts events but also match suitable policies.

The solutions: Machine Learning and NLP for identifying land use conflicts

The data: Land use conflict news articles.

The data for this Omdena challenge was scrapped from various news media reports with 65,000 candidate conflict articles. This process involved downloading GDELT data for a given country for an input period of time using Google Bigquery, scrapping full news text for a media article using news-please and manually labeling one month of news media data as Negative (no conflict news) and Positive (conflict news) with approximately 1,600 articles.

The impact: AI for environmental sustainability. Follow the information on the project shared by one of the scientists Nikhel Gupta Using AI to Identify Environmental Conflict Events — From Scrapping News Articles to Map Visualization.In this project with Omdena and World Resources Institute, a team collaboration worked on various NLP tasks like: coreference resolution; identifying articles as positive or negative conflict articles; topic modelling; custom entity recognition; matching conflict articles to policies with cosine similarity and finally project our results on an app with map visualization.

Land conflicts in India

According to the Environmental Justice Atlas, India has the most number of environmental conflicts, followed by Colombia and Nigeria. For instance, approximately 66% of all civil cases in the Supreme court of India are related to land disputes for more than 2.5 million hectares of land. This affects an estimated 7.7 million Indians threatening investments worth $ 200 billion, according to the June 2019 report by Centre for Policy Research.

See all Omdena projects finished, upcoming and running .   Among them :

WHAT’S NEXT? Omdena next challenge: Coronavirus: Using AI to Understand Policy Effects on the Economically Marginalized during Pandemics

Enabling governments to design data-driven policies to deal effectively with pandemics like the Coronavirus. In this Omdena Challenge, 65 AI experts, data scientists, and domain experts from more than 20 countries apply AI and policy research to answer the following prevalent questions: 1.5 billion people across the globe urged to stay home to halt coronavirus spread. What will that mean for the economically vulnerable? Are government policies taking into account the poorest and the most vulnerable in an effective manner? AI Challenge started! Preliminary end date: May 19th

How Omdena was born

In late 2018, after more than 10 years in AI and entrepreneurship, Omdena Founder Rudradeb Mitra had the opportunity to work with a cleantech startup in his home country India. The mission was to build an AI-powered solution that can identify houses that are most suitable for solar panels. 

Within a couple of weeks 50 AI engineers, partly from remote areas in India, came together in an online environment to build a solution to a problem they deeply cared about: clean energy. 

Collaboration among the diverse group of motivated people proved to be very powerful. Inspired by the success of the project, Rudradeb founded Omdena on May 22nd 2019 to bring Collaborative AI to many more organizations and communities around the world.