Janet George and Inez Fung climate impact video
Leader Insights

What Could Happen in a World That’s Four Degrees Warmer?

Western Digital Chief Data Scientist Janet George

Recently, I had the privilege to join forces with UC Berkeley professor, Inez Fung, and comedian/actress Aparna Nancherla, to experiment with what the world may be like if global warming progresses.

For the very first time in our history, we can collect incredible amounts of data at scale. Modern data infrastructure enables the documentation and recording of billions of species, especially the species that were never before documented or recorded, that are disappearing right now. Data science enables us to have an amazing ability to collect, analyze, predict and slow down the speed of extinction.

sea rise climate impact animation

In the video, we discuss building machine learning models for predictive analytics around what we can see. We can measure the rise in sea levels, and now have the ability to capture all kinds of new data related and relevant to many climate issues. With Aparna’s help, we explore what life will be like in the everyday sense for everyone.

Using brand-new access and capture mechanisms of data, we can analyze data, derive predictions, observe the actual results in comparison to the predictions, and recalibrate ourselves to take actions and necessary steps towards slowing down the process and the speed of occurrence.

Western Digital Chief Data Officer Janet George

We can also use machine learning models to establish strong co-relations and inter-connections. For example, there is a strong co-relation of extremely high temperatures decimating certain types of animals/pests. As a result, generalist species have a greater chance of survival, and create a huge ecosystem imbalance. As a result, there are far-reaching effects on our food, health, safety and even the longevity of our lives.

DNA natural selection evolution animation
While sobering, this was a fun and optimistic way for two scientists to explain the small, easy concrete steps each individual can take toward active participation in the reversal of climate change.

With compelling data and our collective actions we can rapidly slow down the process, even as we race toward a 4C world in our lifetime.

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Janet George
Janet George is a Fellow and Chief Data Scientist at Western Digital. She is a technical leader with more than 15 years of experience in Big Data Platform, machine learning, distributed computing, compilers, and Artificial Intelligence. Previously, she served as managing director, chief scientist, and Big Data expert at Accenture technology labs. She has also served as head of Yahoo Labs Research Engineering, inventing next-generation platforms, cloud infrastructures, and machine learning for Big Data, as well as at eBay and Apple. Janet holds a Bachelors and Advanced Master Degree with distinction in Computer Science, Mathematics, with a thesis focus on AI and ML.