While much of what we know about climate change refers to the big picture of Mother Earth’s plight, a new artificial intelligence (AI)-driven initiative now lets you see how it can actually impact you right where you live.
Somewhat cheekily titled This Climate Does Not Exist (ThisClimateDoesNotExist.com), this website allows users to enter their current address or some of the more popular tourist destinations across the globe and see how these can be affected by climate change from the present to several years down the line.
Scenarios currently include a smog-smothered amusement park that eerily calls to mind how Beijing found itself almost completely enveloped by soot and smoke back in 2014. Various residential areas severely were affected by flooding caused by melted polar ice caps, as well as the impact of climate change on heavily deforested areas.
It is a chilling way to educate the public regarding climate change, but its creators do not mean for it to depress or cause anxiety among those using the site. Instead, according to researcher Sasha Luccioni of the Quebec AI Institute. As one of those working on the project, Luccioni said it is meant to open one’s eyes to the potential damage that current realities may lead to, learn what one could about the situation.
In one’s own way – find potential solutions to pressing climate issues. In fact, Luccioni suggests that, after viewing the AI visualization, you can share a link to it with others in order to raise their awareness regarding climate change.
This Climate Does Not Exist also shows users how they can take a more proactive stance against environmental damage: lobbying their local government representatives, making a significant shift to a plant-based diet, rethinking their consumption habits, or even taking part in community-driven initiatives.
Originally developed in 2019, the idea for the site actually came from researcher Ian Goodfellow’s concept for generative adversarial networks (GANs.) Initially, GAN technology was used to create viral deepfake images and videos. However, researchers in Quebec figured out how it could be used as a teaching aid to help raise awareness about climate change.
The project has been an interesting challenge for its developers and it has drawn in a whole creative community that includes video game makers, photographers, climate scientists, climate communicators, and over twenty machine learning experts.
It is the team’s collective hope that their initiative will encourage positive change and lead to more individual- and community-driven initiatives to help save the environment.