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Meta Is Working With The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign To Create An AI That Reduces The Carbon Footprint Created By Concrete

Meta’s AI team, working in conjunction with researchers from the University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign, have created an AI that can devise increasingly effective high-density, low-carbon concrete.

Listen, I’ve got a million reasons to boot which state that Meta is a terrible corporation that stands against the concept of free market at every opportunity, and undermines user privacy and safety on a near-regular basis. However, I’m not going to let these opinions of mine (read: facts) undermine the amount of eco-friendly changes that the company has introduced to its structure since its inception in the 2000’s. While it’s transition to an eco-positive company hasn’t been without its own controversies, such as the promotion of ads from fossil fuel conglomerates, it’s still made some impressive strides. Meta is actively making its way towards being a net water-positive company, which means that it gives back more drinking water to communities than it consumes. All of its offices run on clean, green energy, and Mark Zuckerberg continues to be an active advocate for halting the relentless march of climate change.

Now, it seems that Meta’s attempting yet another project geared towards reducing our carbon footprint on the planet, elephantine as it is. Meta AI is a department that may have some real functional importance with respect to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, but it’s mostly just used by the company as a marketing tool of sorts. It’s a rag-tag team of IT whizzes, all aiming to create fun new ways that AI can be implemented across the internet. I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more of them as the Metaverse starts being integrated online, but we digress. Meta AI’s working with a team from UoI, UC, to create a more sustainable version of concrete. Let’s be honest, concrete forms the literal backbone of every city and town in the world nowadays, large or small. As quaint a hamlet you may live in, it needs roads and minimal infrastructure to maintain some form of economic viability, right?

However, creating concrete releases an abundance of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. The process actually accounts for 8% of all CO2 emissions annually, which isn’t exactly peanuts. Some of the major culprits are the ingredients that create concrete, cement being a major cause for concern. Meta, along with Dr. Lav Varshney and Prof. Nishant Garg, are thinking of coming up with a list of different ingredients and combinations that can result in the creation of a viable concrete substitute. Except, as anyone who’s studied permutations and combinations is math class is aware, this could take ages if done by hand. So, the team decided to design an AI to come up with all the different combinations and their relative viabilities. They then chose the five best results, and worked with concrete company Ozinga to further refine the product.

Meta hopes to refine the product enough to make it a commercially viable substitute.


Read next: 85% of Americans Believe Climate Change is Real, But Less Than Half Believe Humans Are the Main Cause

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