Tracking Goats and Bleach, Artificial Intelligence Helps Out in Crises

Friday, April 12, 2019

By Laurie Goering

When Nepal suffered devastating twin earthquakes in 2015 that killed nearly 9,000 people, the government provided help for families whose homes had collapsed to rebuild.

But tens of thousands of others with damaged homes that were still standing faced a tougher decision: Was it safe to make repairs? Or were they better off building a new, often smaller home at their own cost?

Artificial intelligence (AI), it turned out, could help, said Elizabeth Hausler, a U.S.-based engineer and builder who works on creating affordable, disaster-resilient housing.

In Nepal, many homes are variations on a standard design – rectangular, multi-storey and with similar windows, she said.

“We realised the buildings aren’t that unique,” she told the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford this week.

Photo courtesy of Shukuko Koyama / ILO.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation (link opens in a new window)

artificial intelligence, housing, social enterprise