Satellite imagery can be used to predict regions of poverty

Jean and his team created their algorithm in two steps, The Verge explains. First, they ran day and night satellite images of Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Malawi, and Rwanda through a neural network, which would find the villages and cities and try to predict where the lights would be at night. If there are houses in a region, for example, the system would predict that area would be lit up at night. Step two added in economic survey data which, while incomplete for the majority of the region, added much needed context and granularity. The system could already recognize a village, for instance, but the survey data could tell it the household income of that village. When the system identified a similar village nearby – one which had no…


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