2021 Responsible Machine Learning Summit: AI anD Social Good


Douglas McCauley
Douglas McCauley, Associate Professor, UC Santa Barbara and Director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative

AI for Oceans

Abstract: Like many environmental domains, challenges facing ocean health are becoming increasingly complex. This includes such issues as climate change impacts, plastic pollution, illegal fishing, and myriad concerns associated with inter-connections between ocean health and environmental justice. Fortunately, ocean science is experiencing an explosion of new large data sources that hold potential, if properly leveraged, to contribute strategic insight into ocean problem solving. We will share a perspective, from the vantage point of domain area experts in ocean science, on the need and value of combining the power of artificial intelligence tools with these new data streams to advance solution-oriented applied marine research. We will share lessons learned from our case study research collaboratively utilizing different types of AI for whale conservation, endangered species monitoring, white shark surveillance, and plastic pollution research. This portfolio of research offers a first sense of what can be achieved via partnership between experts in marine and computational sciences.

Biosketch: Douglas McCauley is an Associate Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and the Director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative – an applied research center based at UCSB’s Marine Science Institute that creates replicable, science-based solutions to improve ocean health. Prof. McCauley is a Sloan Research Fellow in the Ocean Sciences and member of World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action. Prof. McCauley has degrees in political science and biology from the University of California at Berkeley and a PhD in Biology from Stanford. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford, Princeton, and UC Berkeley. Research by Dr. McCauley has been published in leading research journals such as Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA and has been featured in outlets such as the New York Times, BBC, TIME, and US National Public Radio.