Climate Change Computer Audition: A Call to Action and Overview on Audio Intelligence to Help Save the Planet

by   Björn W. Schuller, et al.

Among the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed within the 2030 Agenda and adopted by all the United Nations member states, the 13^th SDG is a call for action to combat climate change for a better world. In this work, we provide an overview of areas in which audio intelligence – a powerful but in this context so far hardly considered technology – can contribute to overcome climate-related challenges. We categorise potential computer audition applications according to the five elements of earth, water, air, fire, and aether, proposed by the ancient Greeks in their five element theory; this categorisation serves as a framework to discuss computer audition in relation to different ecological aspects. Earth and water are concerned with the early detection of environmental changes and, thus, with the protection of humans and animals, as well as the monitoring of land and aquatic organisms. Aerial audio is used to monitor and obtain information about bird and insect populations. Furthermore, acoustic measures can deliver relevant information for the monitoring and forecasting of weather and other meteorological phenomena. The fourth considered element is fire. Due to the burning of fossil fuels, the resulting increase in CO_2 emissions and the associated rise in temperature, fire is used as a symbol for man-made climate change and in this context includes the monitoring of noise pollution, machines, as well as the early detection of wildfires. In all these areas, computer audition can help counteract climate change. Aether then corresponds to the technology itself that makes this possible. This work explores these areas and discusses potential applications, while positioning computer audition in relation to methodological alternatives.


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