The Aquarium of the Pacific’s September First Wednesdays event is taking a deep dive into how Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to help address critical environmental issues facing our oceans and planet.

Dr. Ben Strong, a geophysicist and technical product lead at Earth Genome, is at the forefront of developing AI-centric technologies for environmental applications. His guest lecture at the Aquarium begs the question: “Can AI Save Our Ocean and Planet?” He’ll delve into how future AI designs might be centered around environmental concerns and values.

Dr. Ben Strong. Photo by Annie Baldwin

As a case study, he’ll highlight the work of Global Plastic Watch, a platform that uses AI to monitor satellite imagery to detect the previously unmapped waste sites that disproportionately contribute to plastic pollution in our oceans. 

With a doctorate from Stanford University and background that included time as a research scientist at X, Google’s research and development “moonshot factory,” Strong will also share details about his work at Earth Genome, where he leads the development of Earth Index, a “ChatGPT for the environment,” which allows anyone to quickly search across terabytes of data to monitor relevant environmental trends.

First Wednesdays will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, in the Honda Pacific Visions Theater. The talk will be capped off with a cash bar cocktail hour, music and a craft activity in the Pacific Visions Art Gallery. Tickets are $5 in advance or $10 at the door. RSVP online or call 562-590-3100.