Can AI Help Stop Bee Extinction to Save the Planet and Humanity? (17th September 2019)

Most people know that bees pollinate a significant amount of the crops which provide the food that we eat and that there is a growing danger to the bees.

In fact, since the 1990s there’s been a dramatic increase in the observations of domestic beekeepers and apiarists at honey farms from around the world of sudden and mysterious disappearance of bees with a considerable decline in honeybee colonies; this is from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) – the sudden and unexcited loss of bees.

From 2006 apiarists have identified that CCD strikes when seemingly thriving bee colonies with plenty of food stores and artificial hive frames on farms with eggs, larvae, and pupae empty themselves of adult bees with a matter of days, leaving behind—at best—a queen and a handful of bees in the hive, with no evidence of dead and dying bees on the bottom boards or in front of the hives.

There are many theories around what is causing this, though they are mainly theoretical at this point.  The huge loss of biodiversity to monocultures must not be overlooked:

  • 40% Loss of commercial honeybee in the US Since 2006
  • 25% Loss of commercial honeybees in Europe Since 1985
  • 45% Loss of commercial honeybees in the UK since 2010

By creating a global network of data about bees, the science community with apiarists are identifying trends and analysing vast arrays of data – such as acoustics – using AI, searching for a cause to this global effect.

For example, by applying AI to the vast and intricate acoustic data collected from around numerous beehives, the main predator of bees – the Asian Hornet – can now be identified on approach to the hives, the beekeepers can be alerted, and the threat managed.  But this is just one answer, and not a global one at that.

This is a widespread, intricate and complex problem. And this is just the beginning of the application of AI with other technology to solve this worldwide issue.

About our Speaker

Caroline Denoon-Slater, Autonomous Account Director at Oracle

Caroline has 24 years’ experience working across consulting, pre-sales and sales of Applications and Technology, but has always been happiest when applying the technology to a cause.

She established and chaired the Corporate Social Responsibility Board for Oracle UK 2006-2010 managing the teams focused on education, sustainability, and charities such as the Princes Trust, British Heart Foundation, Comic Relief and Cancer Research.

In 2016 she launched the Innovation Showcase at Oracle UK headquarters in Reading as a place to demonstrate the capabilities of emerging technologies.

In 2018 Caroline joined the team working with the World Bee Project applying technology to the plight of the bees.