During summer 2017, I explored the implications of the potential application of artificial intelligence (AI) to resource management at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Alongside my mentor, Dr. Simon Beard, I sought to determine the most noteworthy risks and benefits associated with developing AI that could offer agricultural guidance and that could someday offer insight into more efficient, effective, and equitable resource distribution. My research, funded by a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) grant, involved discussing AI-related issues in the context of resource scarcity with academics and experts in the fields of AI, climate science, data analytics, economics, ethics, and robotics. I found that while AI could present a solution to the problem of scarcity by harnessing data and algorithms to increase agricultural yield, the technology also must be considered in the context of risks—including bias and a lack of trustworthiness. If the positive potential and risks associated with AI for resource management are thoughtfully considered throughout development, the technology could improve food security and ultimately contribute to a better future.
UNH Undergraduate Research Journal
Nick Smith, Simon Beard
Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire
Ware, Andrew, "Can Artificial Intelligence Alleviate Resource Scarcity?" (2018). Inquiry Journal. 4.