字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 You kinda go outside and notice a very different world around you these days. A place that's much quieter and pretty weird. In this episode I wanted to explore the idea of what this lack of activity looks like on a planetary scale and how the world has changed since the virus spread across it. And so we are gonna talk to Will Marshall who's the CEO of Planet Labs. It's a company that has hundreds of imaging satellites surrounding the planet. We're also gonna talk to an Open Source Image Analyst named Allison Puccioni to get her take on what these images teach us about what's happening. And with that, let's go talk to Will. Tell me a little bit about who you are just for people who don't know Planet and what you guys do. Sure. Planet does Earth imaging satellites and analytics on that imagery. We have about 150 satellites in orbit. One set that images the entire landmass once per day. So, really frequent imagery, as well as 15 satellites that delegated to higher resolution that can zoom in on any particular target of interest that we have. As the virus spread across the globe and everybody went on lockdown, you guys pretty quickly started to post some of these images of what the world looks like when it goes quiet. What jumped out at you as things slowed down? Well, the very first set of images, we were asked to take some imagery in Wuhan and just to see how dramatic the change was. From cars on the roads and on the bridges, to suddenly just gone. Then as we look around the rest of the world from Disney to Mecca, people were just gone. You were talking about people asking for images. I mean, who has come to you in this type of crisis and what are they looking for? Yeah, well the first folks that were asking for the data were the news media who were just trying to understand, especially when they couldn't send journalists there anymore, what's going on? But then it was quickly followed by governments who were interested in whether or not there was anything that could be done for emergency response. So, for example, the US government reached out and asked if we could help monitor some cities across the US for their relief operations. And, you guys, I think you were deemed an essential business during all of this. As I understand it, I mean you've been able to keep manufacturing, but then, more broadly, it looks like some of the rocket factories have had to slow down a little bit. I mean, what has been the knock-on effect just to the space industry in general, whether it's its launches or satellites? I would say that space is pretty resilient for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's built very resiliently. I mean it's a very expensive business and so on, people are very careful with those triple redundant systems and backups and supply chain management. And so, our company like many other space companies are pretty robust to weather a storm. So, for example, we operate all of our satellites remotely. We have remote mission control systems that our folks can do from home. All of that stuff is still working. The only thing that we have to do in person is the manufacturing. We've got special permission so we can continue to do that. And then, I think a second part of it is that the space sector is very connected with government needs, whether that's in the communication satellites or in earth observation or what have you. And governments in these sorts of times tend to spend more, not less, both to stimulate the economy and because they're very necessary for emergency response. I know that you think pretty broadly about humanity in general. You know, what has this experience been like? What, I don't know, what's struck you the most over the past couple of weeks? Well, look, this is an extraordinary time. It's almost like a real-time test of the competence of government. And that's very interesting to see how it evolves where countries like South Korea get on with testing very quickly and lock down early. They're going to do better than the countries that fail to do those things. And, that's not an experiment you want to run at the expense of human lives, but we are seeing it. But then there are some silver lining and I think that it's important in any disaster to look for those opportunities. It's like humanity is testing its reflex of emergency response muscle. And a bit of strength in that is a good idea because we're going to see more emergencies come up. Because of climate change, we're going to see many more big scale disasters happen whether floods or hurricanes or fires. And we're going to need to be able to respond to them. This is a test of how humans can change their behavior, like stopping flying, like doing much more virtual meetings, like potentiality consuming less. I do hope that through this, humanity will be a little more focused on the environment. And our imagery is, of course, extremely important for that. You're an open source image analyst. Can you tell us what that means, and what you do? So, there are a number of different satellites in space that any one of us can get access to. You can call up somebody with a credit card and say, "Hey, I want an image of this," and I look at those pictures, and I try to find interesting patterns of life. I've always been on the more security end of that. Whether that means looking for naval weapons in China, or low intensity conflict in Africa, or even refugee displacement. These images used to be kind of rare and precious and prized, and mostly government. They were totally classified, yeah. These things weren't available at this quantity until honestly in the last five years. But now you have all sorts of countries that are building their own satellite industry. And we are able to benefit from this emergence of transparency like we've never been able to do before. And so, when something like, when there's this big global story, is there anything that's popped out to you during the last couple of weeks? Yeah, there have been, I think a couple of the images over Iran that showed what I think the Washington Post called burial pits, of a number of people being buried. But it is over a cemetery, and they are not really mass graves and they're not really burial pits. What we're seeing is basically a country that had people die in February from a pandemic, and they hastily buried them, but they buried them individually and they had individually marked graves. It sounds like part of what you're saying is either some part of the media was either sensationalizing this, or just didn't fully understand the context of what they were seeing, or like the right way to talk about this? I would just say tread carefully, because we're looking at a catastrophe. We're looking at a pandemic, and these are people who don't have a disregard for their dead. They are there on the worst days of their lives. In this particular case, is this somewhere that's looked at on a daily basis? So, when we need the resolution or the clarity, I guess, to see graves being dug, we need a high-resolution satellite. There used to be literally five high resolution satellites in the early 2010s, and now I've lost count. I think there are 36, 37. So at any given point in the earth's surface, we used to be able to see twice a year, and now we can probably see roughly twice a week or maybe five or six times a month. And showing sort of what the world looks like when it comes to a standstill in all these places. Did anything jump out at you? Just 'cause you have such a keen eye for this stuff? Yeah. I'm actually working with a number of organizations who are trying to do a COVID response using satellite imagery. The analytics teams at places like Planet, they are doing metrics. Are people populating certain areas? Really interesting details that can augment municipal information that we already have. And then, you can actually do things that allow people to learn whether people are sheltering in place or not. One is cell data records, or tracking cell phone data, which has been a very effective tool in showing how people are traveling from their home. In certain countries, the cell phone records are tracking to hospitals, versus grocery stores. So, if you see that in one county, people are still going to the grocery store more than the hospital, then maybe that means there hasn't been a big outbreak there. Yeah. And yet, we have to ask ourselves the ethical question, is this okay right now? If we can track people and potentially put shelter in place orders in certain regions that could have the potential to save lives, is that more important than someone's autonomy or secrecy? We're in this interesting moment when there's a lot more truth about the world that can be gleaned through data. I mean, just as someone who's watched this virus play out, what have you-- Well, I mean you bring up a really interesting point. When the Washington Post, for instance, among a lot of other news organizations published the satellite imagery over the cemetery in Iran, there was a very strong slant on Iran has been obfuscating the actual numbers of people who had perished from coronavirus. And this satellite industry shows that there's a fair amount more people that have perished from coronavirus. Satellite Imagery does hold people's leaders, in fact, feet to the fire, because it's possible now for civilians, and for academic institutions to check. So, it would, at the very least, force people to be more transparent about what's actually going on in their country.