Artificial Intelligence – Fighting Overpopulation

Criticizing others, giving them an unwelcome feeling, can be done by anyone. Uplifting them and giving them a good feeling – that takes a special gift and spending effort – Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

We are heading toward a massive crisis, and it is not Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Artificial Super-Intelligence (ASI). U.N. says that between 2000 and 2050, the world’s population will grow at a rate of 50 percent. If we consider the fact that between 1950 and 2000, the world’s population doubled – from 3 billion to 6 billion this sounds alarming. Advances in technology that happen every single year have affected humanity in positive as well as negative ways. The ability of medicine to save lives and create better living conditions for all is either a boon or a bane. A direct result of this has been, increased lifespan and the growth of the population. In the past fifty or so years, the growth of population has boomed and has turned into overpopulation. In the history of our species, the birth and death rate have always been able to balance each and maintain a population growth rate that is sustainable. It might surprise many when I say that, AI could help us reduce population phenomenally. Development at a rapid pace in the world of AI assures that technology can help us understand overpopulation in a better way than ever before. AI, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics (BDA) and something that I personally see evolving, what I momentarily call as ABI (Artificial Behavioral Intelligence) will help us find a solution to control overpopulation.

The main factors which contribute to rising population have always been poverty, illiteracy and global ignorance. Countries with highest population growth rate were found to be poorest. These were countries where one experienced large-scale economic disparity and industrial exploitation. Population growth decreased in advanced industrial countries and highly civilized societies. One big factor that many of us forget is Industrial exploitation, where the Industry ruled by a few billionaires who only care for their profit and global status, without considering the impact of overpopulation on rapid depletion of resources exploit the masses and support huge numbers (excess population). Another observation that all of us have today is that countries which threaten human race due to their overpopulation are highly orthodox. People who live in these countries are largely illiterate, which could be owing to poverty, social exploitation or lack of governance in that country.

Once we speak of rapid depletion of natural resources, we naturally include plants. AI will transform the way farming is done. We see a lot of interesting algorithms such as Amazon’s product suggestions, Facebook’s friend suggestions, Google’s search results, Instagram’s photograph suggestion, YouTube’s video suggestion and much more. The brain behind this technology is Machine Learning (ML) and User Behavior Analytics (UBA). These algorithms analyze tons of data to find common behavior patterns, thought patterns, likes, dislikes and then turn these parameters into probabilities and actions before analyzing them further and providing valuable inputs. When applied to agriculture, the same technology can help prevent damage and immense global waste. A lot of countries including China are working on “precision farming,”. This concept uses real-time and historical data along with ML algorithms to take specific decisions that could impact areas and their pattern of farming. So, for instance, instead of planting large amounts of a certain crop where the consumption is less, and wastage is more, we can plant multiple plants, specific ones while reducing the costs, waste and avoiding damage that the chemical substance can cause when applied in mass.

Now the same process mentioned above could be applied to ‘Population’. This is where AI and its contribution in reducing overpopulation begins. Three among the top ten overpopulated countries namely Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nigeria are some of the smallest countries in size and suffer from extreme poverty. Similarly poverty, illiteracy, social exploitation and corruption have been the main reasons for overpopulation in other countries in the top ten such as Brazil, China, India and Pakistan. A detailed study of the numbers here reveals an interesting trend that can be studied further using BDA, AI, ML and ABI. Data also shows that deteriorating living conditions increase human numbers instead of decreasing them. Humans adapt unless the living conditions are unbearable such as extreme temperatures, frequent cyclones or new trend of viruses that are difficult to contain. A deep study in AI for controlling overpopulation will help us all to solve this problem once and for all. AI will show us the way but it is for us to follow it. Let us not forget that Overpopulation threatens our own well-being and existence on this planet.

Thanks to Pixabay.com for these lovely royalty free images!

About the Author
Vinay Lohar is an ISMS, IT & Management expert, Adventurer, Photographer and Food Connoisseur He received his Masters of Business Administration from Jodhpur National University. He was an international Information Security and Data Privacy Consultant at Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany for 3 years. He also worked as a Risk Manager for Amazon.com and managed an internal business team for the EU region for Transaction Risk Management. Vinay currently works as a Manager for Information Security and Cyber Security with Siemens, a German conglomerate company headquartered in Berlin and Munich and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe.
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