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Artificial intelligence and related technologies have enabled massive leaps in the fields of marketing, customer service, transportation and industrial processes. AI has even composed music. Its next challenge? Predicting natural disasters and improving the way we respond to them.

Earlier Warnings

Earthquakes are notoriously hard to predict. They strike unexpectedly and spark wildfires and tsunamis that add to the damage. Scientists have tried, but no one has yet found a way to reliably predict them. Some researchers, though, think AI might be the key to finally doing it and saving lives in the process.

A team of geophysicists from Pennsylvania State University and Los Alamos National Laboratory has been simulating quakes, gathering data and analyzing it using machine learning, which has allowed them to gather more information on more variables than ever before.

What they’ve found is that a “creaking and grinding noise” in the acoustical data has proven to be a useful predictor that allows them to pinpoint when an event will occur. While these findings might be difficult to translate into the real world, some scientists are optimistic that AI could finally provide us with the ability to forecast earthquakes.

Machine learning plays a role in the weather predictions we get every day, and that same …

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