Icons under fire to imagine a climate emergency

This website does not exist (A new window), online since Thursday morning, lets you imagine doomsday scenarios around the world thanks to images that come primarily from Google Street View.

As you walk through it, you will be able to see what your home would look like if there was a flood, wildfire, or thick smog. Obviously, these aren’t predictions, but predictions that always have a slightly higher probability of actually occurring each year, explains Sacha Luccioni, one of the three lead researchers on the project led by Mila, the Montreal-based Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

It’s crazy, there were floods in Australia, we didn’t hear about it, there were fires in Russia, we don’t hear about itExplain to the morning programme First time.

Visualization of a flood around the Montreal Olympic Stadium.

Photo: ceclimatnexistepas.com

It affects us and will affect us more and more. But instead of expecting the future, we expect the present. People are allowed to travel to the affected places, but at home. We want them to imagine the flood that happened in Australia but on their streets.

Quote from:Sacha Luccioni, researcher at the Mila Institute

Algorithms

Researcher Yoshua Bengyu’s team relies on algorithms to create a visualization of the desired disaster. The items in the picture will be taken into consideration.

If there is a big house, cars, trees, the water will change: there will be reflections in the water, the amount of water will change. It’s not just a filter. It generates contextual flood, refers to Mrs. Luccioni.

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However, geographical location and altitude are not taken into account. The St. Lawrence River Château Frontenac, which overlooks Quebec, is unlikely to flood in 2022, even if the website can view it.

We do not take into account the geographical location or the altitude of the location. But if the dwelling is, for example, at the edge of the water, then the rest of the water (from the flood) will be the same color. It will be contextual depending on that.

Quote from:Sacha Luccioni, researcher at the Mila Institute
Downtown and all CN are hardly noticeable.

Picture the smog over the city of Toronto.

Photo: ceclimatnexistepas.com

Long work more than two years

Ms. Luccioni insists that the design of this site is the result of a very long and meticulously executed work. There is also a section explaining climate change.

It took us two years to create this site. This is something that has not been done. We used this power, and we had to collect a lot of data, and we had to think about how to do a (image) transformation.

However, the projections are not based on scientific predictions, but on analyzes that make it possible to predict, for example, what could happen in Canada by 2100 as the Earth warms: increased wildfires and sea level, nothing more. Heat waves and deteriorating air quality.

Water surrounds the building.

Visualize a flood around the Canadian Parliament.

Photo: ceclimatnexistepas.com

Objective: To raise awareness and change behavior

The goal is to make the population aware of the urgent need to act now. The researcher believes that imagining her home in smog may allow some site visitors to change their habits. Section titled What can I do? Created on the site.

We want to take the feedback that people will have. The individual actions that people will take to change their behaviour. For example, their diet, what they buy and how they buy. We also develop collective actions and policies that can be takenas you say.

Experts in human behavior and science also collaborated on the project.

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