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Ai: The New Tool to Fight Famine

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A large number of people are affected by unusual and severe food insecurity, making it a large-scale threat to loss of life. In the framework of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which is a scale used for improving food security analysis as well as decision making, a famine is considered as Phase 5. This phase means there is an extreme lack of food and other basic needs, where destitution, starvation, and death are evident even with humanitarian assistance.

Helping End Extreme Poverty

The World Bank Group, a global partnership that helps fight poverty worldwide through sustainable solutions, has recently considered using artificial intelligence to help fight famine. With a mission of building shared prosperity and end extreme poverty, the group launched an AI tool called “Famine Action Mechanism. ” This is according to a report published in the Washington Post. What is a Famine Action Mechanism?Together with tech giants Google, Amazon, and Microsoft as well as other international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Bank unveiled the Famine Action Mechanism. They said that it is an evolving algorithm that utilizes analytics in identifying areas that are high to experience extreme shortages of food. The use of artificial intelligence is that it will help the international groups to overcome the challenge of securing the release of funds to the at-risk locations before it would be too late for the people living there. The initiative is said to use the forecasting power of data to trigger the funding. World Bank Fragility, Conflict, and Violence Group’s senior director Franck Bousquet shared that the “root cause of famine is extremely complex” and that usually, the most vulnerable and the poorest group of people are the ones most affected.

These people, he said, are least able to cope up with the shocks that the other populations could absorb. With several years of leadership experience on reconstruction and resilience issues, Bousquet went on that out of the last 10 major famines in history, nine of which have resulted from war and conflict. That is why famine is not just about drought and the reason why the technology companies are joining in the effort of the World Bank to prevent famines in the future with the use of technology. This decision came a year after extreme food shortages affected over 20 million people in countries, such as Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. Accurate ForecastingThe officials from the World Bank said that although they believe they had quickly responded to the recent food crisis in Somalia, they still decided to create an early-warning system that will help secure funding for affected countries the soonest time possible. It requires accurate forecasting, which is very important to save lives. Microsoft President Brad Smith expressed that if there is a tool that can better predict where and when future famines will happen, then they can more effectively and timely respond to save lives. Both machine learning and AI “hold huge promise,” he said, for detecting and forecasting the early signs of food shortages. These include:-natural disasters,-droughts,-conflicts, and-crop failures.

Famine Warning Systems Network

World Bank’s senior adviser Ed Hsu also said that they recognize the unique ability of the technologists to consider the present challenges and look at things in new ways. While there is an existing famine prediction tool called Famine Warning Systems Network that provides an update of the affected global areas, it is not a kind of “qualitative modeling process” or a mathematical formula that will assist the experts it determining the food security. Aside from that, the previous famine prediction tool does not evaluate in real-time the hunger levels in certain areas. The difference with using the present Famine Action Mechanism, which will be launched next month in some countries, is that it will digitize the decisions with the use of Artemis. It is a set of analytic models that will give the World Bank with alerts that will trigger the actions plans and prearrange fundings by donors, governments, and the humanitarian agencies. It will likewise encourage a more efficient kind of intervention. In a statement, World Bank Group’s President Jim Yong Kim also said that it is a “global strategy” that millions of people, a majority of them are children, still suffer from famine and severe malnutrition even in the 21st century. The use of AI will be a preventive approach that combines early financing, innovative technology, and strong partnerships in the effort to prevent hunger.

Last April, the United Nations World Food Program, the food-assistance branch of the United Nations that help address hunger and promotes food security, have also turned to use AI to fight global food insecurity. The organization’s director of Innovation and Change Management Robert Opp said that AI has the ability to augment the human capacity because it can analyze big data and find areas that are affected by natural disasters and conflict. That way, developing countries can quickly assist those affected.

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