On September 18th, OxAI partnered with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and the Oxford Climate Society for an event Climate Change and AI. The evening acted as a showcase for some of Oxford’s cutting-edge tech startups that are helping to fight against climate change and began with a drinks reception and opening remarks from the organisers.
Following this, the startup founders pitched their companies to the audience, with innovative solutions being presented for issues ranging from deforestation to transportation. One of the evening’s most memorable talks came from Dr. Zsuza Mayer and Darsh Kodwani, who were presenting on behalf of EcoSync, a startup addressing the problem of energy waste from heating up empty rooms. The solution that they have developed is an innovative hardware-free occupancy detection technology, that utilises machine learning algorithms to identify empty rooms and responds to this by creating heated zones where needed. This technology is already being rolled out in Oxford’s own Lady Margaret Hall, which has experienced an energy reduction of 66% during holiday time and around 23% overall.
After each of the speakers had pitched their ideas, there was a quick-fire Q&A session. Here, the audience pushed the startup representatives to answer questions around the difficulty of recruiting AI talent and their outlooks on the fight against climate change. The evening ended with a networking session, which gave the attendees an opportunity to discuss the talks and ask further questions in a more informal manner.