Subsidence monitoring: using AI to identify the underlying causes

Thema:
Artifical intelligence

The ground in the Netherlands is sinking more quickly than sea levels are rising. For a country with a large proportion of its territory below sea level, that is not a very reassuring prospect. And that is why TNO has devised an artificial intelligence model that can identify the human activities that are the worst offenders when it comes to causing subsidence.

Why is subsidence occurring? It is largely the consequence of human activities, such as the lowering of the ground water level. Another reason is the extraction of underground stocks of water, salt, and gas. So the most prominent causes are known. But it is often a matter of guesswork what exactly the effect is of each process.

Limiting the risk of flooding

The greater the degree of subsidence, the greater the risk of flooding. More knowledge is needed if appropriate measures are to be taken – knowledge about the causes and the extent to which they compound each other. This information is essential for finding solutions that can help slow down the rate of subsidence in the Netherlands or even stop it altogether.

Think or sink

To understand what exactly is taking place in the subsurface, a significant input of artificial intelligence is needed, in addition to the human variety, so TNO has opted for a hybrid AI model. In this case, it means the AI system not only has the relevant information about the subsurface at its disposal, but also that previously acquired knowledge about the dynamics of the ground process is used. The name of this AI project is, appropriately enough, Think or Sink.

Data on the ground water level and gas extraction

In the Netherlands, TNO collects and manages data about the geological subsurface and the ground water level. The information is therefore already present in its databases. However, to carry out effective analyses, it also requires data on gas extraction – which is confidential.

The solution to that problem is federated learning. Using this method, TNO is able to gain access – subject to strict conditions – to a specific part of the database, but without actually sharing the data. The AI then learns from the data but does not store it. It means the AI system developed by TNO can access relevant information on gas extraction.

The challenge for AI

This TNO AI project is initially aimed at two areas. In the first area, the ground is sinking as a result of both the lowering of the ground water level and the extraction of natural gas. Meanwhile in the second area, it is only the former that is responsible for subsidence. The big question is whether artificial intelligence will be able to help penetrate the deeper underlying causes of subsidence.

Get inspired

31 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Educating AI

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

You can read about how AI is educated in Chapter 1. How can we make clear to AI which goals we want to pursue as humans? Andhow can we ensure intelligent systems will always function in service of society?

Innovation with AI

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

What does that world look like in concrete terms? Using numerous examples, TNO has created a prognosis for the future in Chapter 2. Regarding construction, for example, in which AI will be used to check the quality, safety, and energy efficiency of buildings before they are actually built. Or healthcare, where robots will partly take over caregivers’ tasks and AI will be able to autonomously develop medicines.

Innovating with innovation AI

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

How AI will change research itself is explained in Chapter 3. For example, what role will AI be permitted to play in knowledge sharing? And what will happen when we make machines work with insurmountably large data sets?

David Deutsch on the development and application of AI

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

Peter Werkhoven, chief scientific officer at TNO, joins physicist, Oxford professor, and pioneer in the field of quantum computing, David Deutsch, for a virtual discussion. Deutsch set out his vision in 1997 in the book, The Fabric of Reality. Together, they talk about the significance of quantum computing for the development and application of AI. Will AI ever be able to generate ‘explained knowledge’ or learn about ethics from humans?

Rob de Wijk on the rise of AI in geopolitical context

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

Anne Fleur van Veenstra, director of science at TNO’s SA&P unit, interviews Rob de Wijk, emeritus professor of international relations in Leiden and founder of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. Rob is also a much sought-after expert who appears on radio and television programmes. What does the rise of AI mean geopolitically and in armed conflicts?