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Kolloquium David Dao

24. Oktober
11:00 Uhr – 12:00 Uhr

By David Dao, GainForest/PhD candidate ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Nature has been deteriorating at rates unparalleled in human history and the implications are global. Climate change and biodiversity loss are two bullets in the same gun. Perils we face in parallel, both driven by deforestation and land use change. If global tropical deforestation were a country, its resulting emissions would be larger than the whole of the European Union. Time is running out and we need urgent climate and environmental action.
Unfortunately, we cannot value what we cannot measure. And we are failing to capture nature’s full contributions to society. In this talk, we argue that machine learning (ML) can play a significant role in responding to this critical call for action – but only when we develop ML algorithms in co-design with local and Indigenous communities – by empowering digital monitoring, reporting and verification and conservation projects.

We will present our work at Gainforest, a global science-based non-profit and currently a semi-finalist of the $10M XPRIZE Rainforest, and how Gainforest is deploying affordable top-down and bottom-up monitoring solutions on the ground in partnership with the government of Paraguay and conservation partners in the Global South. Lastly, we will discuss how increased transparency and decentralized science for nature can enable novel financial schemes to tackle global deforestation.


Short CV:

David Dao (he/him) is the founder of GainForest and an Artificial Intelligence (AI) researcher at ETH Zurich. GainForest is a non-profit grantee of Microsoft’s AI for Earth program and Filecoin Green, and a $10M XPRIZE Rainforest Semi-Finalist to prevent deforestation. In co-design with local communities in South America and Southeast Asia, GainForest develops a global assessment protocol that rewards sustainable nature stewardship and has been featured by BBC Radio4, World Economic Forum, Microsoft, Handelsblatt, Boston Consulting Group, and the United Nations. At ETH Zurich, David founded the Climate + AI initiative at DS3Lab and maintains Github’s most starred collection on ethical use of AI („Awful AI“). In close collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), MIT, and Restor they develop satellite-based monitoring algorithms to assess biodiversity. Additionally, he leads the joint Kara Data Marketplace initiative with Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Oasis Labs. David’s research won best papers and several academic grants. Previously, he was an engineer in Silicon Valley and a research fellow at Berkeley AI Research (BAIR), Stanford University, and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. David is a Global Shaper at World Economic Forum, the Forest Lead of Climate Change AI, a Climate Leader at Climate Reality Project, a UN youth delegate for UN since COP23, an advisor to the UNFCCC Resilience Frontiers and Paraguay’s official COP delegation, and a mentor at Creative Destruction Lab Paris. In his spare time, David explores tropical rainforests in South America and the deep sea of Southeast Asia.



The talk will be hybrid.
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