Machine Learning Seminar: Can Data Science Save the Environment?
What if I told you I had bulletproof evidence of a serious threat to American national security - a terrorist attack in which a jumbo jet will be hijacked and crashed every 12 days. Thousands will continue to die unless we act now. The accuracy of my numbers is more conclusive than any CIA or FBI intelligence on international or domestic terrorist activity. This is the question before us today - but the threat doesn't come from terrorists. The threat comes from climate change and air pollution.
We have developed an artificial neural network model that uses on-the-ground air-monitoring data and satellite-based measurements to estimate daily pollution levels across the continental U.S., breaking the country up into 1-square-kilometer zones. We have paired that information with health data contained in Medicare claims records from the last 12 years, and for 97% of the population ages 65 or older. We have developed statistical methods and computational efficient algorithms for the analysis over 460 million health records. Our research shows that air pollution is killing 12,000 senior citizens prematurely each year. That's the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every 12 days. This data science platform is telling us that federal limits on the nation's most widespread air pollutants are not stringent enough.