Presenting the Global Top 100 outstanding projects: Mobius

Published on May 23, 2023

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After a thorough scientific, ethical, and entrepreneurial review of all projects submitted to the 2022 IRCAI Global Top 100 call, IRCAI has deemed ten submissions as “outstanding” based on their AI integrity, potential impact on the SDGs, business sustainability, and ethical design. Among these ten projects was Mobius, an aerial imagery analysis tool developed by Whale Seeker, a Canadian startup using AI for whale monitoring. Earlier this month at our STI Forum side event, Emily Charry Tissier, CEO and co-founder of the company, gave us insight into how Mobius can really make a difference.

Whales matter 

Whales play a vital role in the health of our planet. When whales consume large amounts of prey, they ingest carbon-rich biomass, which they then release near the surface through defecation and excretion in the form of fecal matter that contains significant amounts of carbon and nutrients. This fecal matter then promotes the growth of phytoplankton, which in turn absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Some of this carbon is then transported to the deep sea as the phytoplankton die and sink, sequestering the carbon over long periods of time. Overall, phytoplankton capture 40% of all CO2 produced worldwide – four times the amount absorbed by the Amazon rainforest.

Whale detection: still a largely manual activity

“However, whale populations are under threat from human activity” Emily warns. “With marine activities expected to increase twelvefold by 2050, the risks will only increase.” For this reason, we need to closely monitor whale populations. However, due to the lack of reliable automated analysis techniques, current visual whale detection still relies mostly on the human eye. In other words, current whale detection methods are neither scalable nor standardized.

Rendering whale detection scalable and standardized

Whale Seeker’s proprietary AI assistant system, Mobius, makes use of remote aerial imagery to detect these whales, providing standardized and accurate data on whale populations. Emily explains that the AI assistance provides significant time, financial, and personnel savings by “standardizing the quality of annotations, reducing inaccuracies related to human observer bias and making long-term and wide-ranging comparisons of data across environments and time possible”.

For more background information on the team’s work on scalable and standardised methods for whale monitoring, have a look at their website and the following two articles: This article describes how Deep Learning can serve as a human-in-the-loop solution for analysing aerial data on whale populations, while this article evaluates the ability to detect and classify two Arctic whales in particular, namely the narwhal and the beluga whale.


Georgia DIP and AI Research Project

Georgia DIP and AI Research Project

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published the digital innovation profile for Georgia, a document analysing digital innovation ecosystem in Georgia, focusing on the opportunities and challenges in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The document had been prepared with the collaboration of IRCAI experts.

Highlights from the 16th ASEF Classroom Network Conference

Educators and professionals from across Europe and Asia gathered in the picturesque city of Ljubljana, Slovenia, from November 12-15, 2023, for the 16th ASEF Classroom Network Conference. Hosted by the International Research Centre on AI under the Auspices of UNESCO (IRCAI) and supported by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, this annual event was a success: it brought teachers together, facilitated the creation of new partnerships, answered some questions about AI in education and uncovered many new and important ones.

In Person Meeting of the African Members of the NAIXUS Network of AI Researchers on AI and Development

In Person Meeting of the African Members of the NAIXUS Network of AI Researchers on AI and Development

The NAIXUS project (Network of AI Researchers on AI and the United Nations SDGs) convened a significant meeting during the Deep Learning Indaba 2023. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the progress of the project, share insights, and plan future actions to strengthen the network’s impact on advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through artificial intelligence (AI) research.

Workshop at the Deep Learning Indaba 2023: “Building a Global Network of AI Researchers on AI and the United Nations SDGs” 

Workshop at the Deep Learning Indaba 2023: “Building a Global Network of AI Researchers on AI and the United Nations SDGs” 

The International Research Institute on AI under the auspices of UNESCO (IRCAI) and its core members in the Network of Excellence NAIXUS; a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at bridging the gap between AI and sustainable development hosted a meeting amd a workshop in Accra, Ghana. Both events were held as part of the Deep Learning Indaba 2023 Forum on September 8 and 9 and were co-hosted by the NAIXUS members from Africa.


International Research Centre
on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI)
under the auspices of UNESCO 

Jožef Stefan Institute
Jamova cesta 39
SI-1000 Ljubljana


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