Social networking giant Facebook will be using artificial intelligence to gauge where humans live across the world. This will help the social network better understand where to send its solar-powered planes to beam down internet access. The company seeks to create “much more accurate population maps” across 21.6 million square kilometers of Earth compared to traditional population maps.
In a post on Facebook, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “This is an impressive project from our team developing solar-powered planes for beaming down internet connectivity and our AI research team. Many people live in remote communities and accurate data on where people live doesn’t always exist. We can’t beam internet connectivity to people if we don’t know where communities are, so we built AI technology to analyze 15.6 billion satellite images to create much more accurate population maps across 21.6 million square kilometers of Earth. We will share these maps openly with the community so other organizations can use them too. This should help with planning energy, health and transport infrastructure, as well as assisting people who need help in disasters.”
He also shared a video showing “how these AI enhanced maps compare with current state of the art population maps”.
In March 2014, Facebook launched Connectivity Lab with the aim to connect the entire world to the internet. The company’s plan is to use solar-powered drones to transmit the internet to suburban areas.
The company also recently announced that it is donating computer servers to a number of research institutions across Europe, starting with Germany, to accelerate research efforts into artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.