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Artificial intelligence may help Beijing combat smog

A woman riding a bike wears a mask in Beijing on June 23, 2015, as dense smog blankets the Chinese capital. IBM researchers are designing software that can project how bad the city's air pollution might be and recommend steps to alleviate it. (Kyodo/Landov)

Could artificial intelligence help Beijing combat its choking smog?

Will Knight reports for the MIT Technology Review that IBM is developing a computer system that can predict how filthy the city’s air might be a few days in advance. The projections would be specific to various parts of China’s capital.

Eventually, the technology would enable researchers to recommend steps that Beijing might want to take to alleviate or avoid pollution, the article says. For example, the system could determine that restricting some vehicles from roads or closing certain factories temporarily would be the best responses given anticipated levels of particulates.

The artificial intelligence analyzes a variety of factors that contribute to the city’s foul air. These include factory emissions, road congestion and weather, Knight adds. An IBM prototype can deliver accurate pollution forecasts for Beijing up to 72 hours in advance. Eventually, the system would be able to project smog levels ten days in advance.

MIT Technology Review

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