Building digital transformation solutions for the climate

4 Dec 2020

Alex Rahin. Image: Cervest

Alex Rahin of Cervest explains how AI can be a key driver of change in the climate crisis.

Cervest is an AI-powered climate intelligence platform to predict and quantify the risks and effects of climate volatility.

The company uses machine learning to generate real-time streamed ‘climate signals’ to answer questions linked to climate uncertainty, land and natural resources.

Here, its chief product and technology officer, Alex Rahin, discusses the importance of climate security and how Cervest’s technology can help inform decisions that help mitigate risk, safeguard food and economic security, and protect the planet.

‘We need a fundamental shift in behaviours to ensure that all organisations are held accountable for the impact they have on climate change’

What do you do at Cervest?

I’m the chief product and technology officer at Cervest, helping to drive our product strategy and scale our tech capabilities as we roll out our real-time climate beta platform and kick off Series A fundraising engagements.

I lead a growing team working to help organisations manage the impact of climate volatility in the most informed way possible. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to be able to really make an impact with technology and the reason I chose to join the Cervest team earlier this year.

Cervest combines two of my passions – the opportunity to work on exciting technology and working towards the collective goal of protecting the planet. I feel lucky to be a part of Cervest, particularly as it is rare to find a role that matches both the personal and professional trajectory you are on.

Are you spearheading any major product or IT initiatives you can tell us about?

At Cervest, we are building Earth science AI. This means that we provide organisations with personalised data-led insights to help them and their value chain predict and manage the short and long-term effects of the changing climate.

This empowers any business owner – from insurers to policy makers – to make better informed, more sustainable decisions not only for the future of their company, but for our planet. We aim to roll out our service in Europe initially, and eventually globally.

Climate risk’s urgency is growing and we need a fundamental shift in behaviours to ensure that all organisations are held accountable for the impact they have on climate change. And although climate security is not at the top of the agenda of major corporations and organisations, it is rapidly gaining momentum and a real sense of urgency.

This is the reason we are continually working towards the visualisation of climate information through innovation – to help secure a better future for everyone.

What does your team look like?

Cervest is built on years of research and development by a team of expert scientists, mathematicians, developers and engineers. The Cervest team is currently made up of around 50 talented individuals of 13 different nationalities and one third female, with science, engineering, machine learning and business backgrounds.

Our London-based team has been international from the start and, following the pandemic, we moved swiftly to fully remote working, freeing our teams up to return to home countries and be with loved ones should they wish. As such, our most recent climate scientist hire, Laura Zamboni, joins us from Italy and collaborates digitally with the team.

Working remotely and not being restrained by geographical location helps us find the highly specialised talent we need, while strengthening our commitments to diversity and inclusion.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation and how are you addressing it?

Digital transformation is a driving force for business, and this is only set to increase in the future. Here at Cervest, it is core to our offering, and it helps us provide innovative solutions.

Cervest is building the core digital transformation solutions for climate intelligence. AI and machine learning are growing at an increasingly rapid pace, and they impact an ever-growing amount of areas of our lives. By harnessing their abilities, Cervest helps organisations make better informed decisions, and become more sustainable not only for their own good, but for the planet.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically?

I believe AI is truly changing the world, whether it be in the healthcare industry or for climate security, AI is quickly growing to impact all areas of our life. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted its potential, and it will go hand in hand with developments in medicine, biology, genetics, drug discovery and more in overcoming this virus and others.

Across the industry specifically, AI applied to use cases in climate security is a key driver of change. Thanks to the critical mass of data, algorithms, computation and market demand we now have, the significance of this particular branch of AI is quickly growing. And as more and more emphasis is placed on environmental targets, the potential use of innovative technology in predicting, solving and actioning climate risks is huge for businesses.

Another key change happening is the accelerating pace of innovation in machine learning and particularly deep learning. The advances in algorithms, increasing availability of data and easy access to affordable computing power allow for the constant innovation needed to build solutions to some of society’s toughest challenges.

In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?

The security and privacy of proprietary data is fundamental to our business – both Cervest’s data and customer data. Beyond the technical best practices to ensure our platform is safe by design in terms of access, we have also designed our AI models to learn and improve globally as our data and personalised insights continue to grow without compromising privacy and security of each individual user. This is integral because data is fundamentally the most critical competitive advantage in business.

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