Can artificial intelligence and big data contribute to better understand what will happen to millions of people if climate change hits with full force? Yes, Professor F. LeRon Shults thinks.
Tuesday this week, the professor at University of Agder’s Department of Global Development and Planning was in Brussels to demonstrate how to model tomorrow’s possible realities. Together with an international research team and the Southern Norway European Office, he invited representatives from the EU commission and aid organisations to a conference at Norway House in Brussels.
Examples of topics discussed are AI-assisted models of migration flows and humanitarian aid, security and terror management theory (pdf), religious intergroup conflict (pdf), radicalisation and secularisation.
“We are among very few researchers who examine how to combine big data and artificial intelligence with climate models and scientific models describing human behaviour. The purpose of the conference in Brussels is to explain to stakeholders, who are concerned about climate change and its impact on human societies, what we have today to predict the consequences”, F. LeRon Shults says.
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The research at the intersection of big data, artificial intelligence, human behaviour, and modelling the future will be presented in Brussels on Tuesday. This research is conducted at several faculties at the University of Agder, the University’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Centre for Modeling Social Systems, which is part of NORCE and Agderforskning specifically. Together, they conduct scientific and policy-oriented research on the cognitive and cultural mechanisms that shape contemporary challenges facing individuals and societies – like climate change.
“The background for the conference in Brussels is a three-year project funded by the Research Council of Norway – Modeling Religion in Norway (MODRN) – which we completed this summer. Here we looked at what and how big data, artificial intelligence and various theories on human behaviour could tell us about religious conflicts in Norway, now and in the future. The MODRN project was completed this summer, and what we present in Brussels is substantially based on this work”, Professor F. LeRon Shults explains.
With him to Brussels, F. LeRon Shults has a team of international researchers from Norway, Sweden, Greece and the US. Team leader Matina Halkia, from the European Commision’s research centre in Ispra, Italy, is keynote speaker with the paper ‘How can we predict and prevent climate-driven conflicts and promote peace building through AI modelling human behaviour.’
Other speakers are Professor Monica Toft, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Tufts University, who talks about a new global consortium on climate and conflict; Antje Danielson, director of MIT Energy Initiative on model-based sustainability research; and researcher Justin Lane at NORCE.