We all remember Wall-E as an endearing movie about robots finding true love - but we often forget its dark context and background.
The movie sets in an Earth devastated by consumption, in a wasteland created by humanity, in an environment so torn apart by us that it is no longer inhabitable. As a last resort, robots have been deployed to clean up after our mess while we drift around in space.
We tend to brush it off as dramatization and science fiction, but the scene is very much close to reality. There is a giant mountain of trash spanning hundreds of miles in the ocean, growing minute by minute.
There is no sign of this giant man-created island of garbage slowing down and our current efforts to stop it have been futile.
We NEED to start caring MORE about WHERE the waste we produce each day is going.
Currently, once we throw our garbage away - it is out of sight and out of mind. Worst of all, we don’t even think twice about whether we disposed it properly. That bottle we threw into the trash because we were too lazy to find a recycling bin? Someone else will take care of it and put it in the proper place, right?
No. As it turns out, no one is willing to take care of it. It goes straight to the incinerator, the landfills, and the oceans.
We can change that.
Recently, Tricycle has been working on tackling the issue of waste diversion (away from trash, towards renewable streams) using artificial intelligence, namely through computer vision and machine learning. One of the biggest applications of AI made possible by recent advances is recognizing and classifying objects - and we want to apply it directly to our waste.
[Prototype demo of Computer Vision powered Trash Classification]
We live in a world with self-driving cars and self-flying drones looming in the horizon. Let’s add a self-sorting trash can to that list.