One of the hottest topics of 2018 has been the unstoppable evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI). With the amount of data that is available to us today, there is no denying that the age of AI is well and truly upon us and it has already started to revolutionise organisations and their ways of working. There’s been plenty of discussions around harnessing the potential of AI and what it can do, but we can also talk about what it should do and in particular, what it should do to help us save our planet. Another talking point of the year has been the effects of climate change and what we can do as businesses and individuals to be more eco-friendly.
As environmental concerns increase all the time, experts are turning to AI to find sustainable solutions. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which AI can help us to be greener…
AI is taking the automotive industry by storm with autonomous vehicles fast becoming a must-watch trend. By applying AI and fitting autonomous vehicles with sensors, cameras and communication systems, the vehicles can analyse and process data which enables them to carry out the same functions as a human driver. By doing this, we can reduce fuel emissions as the autonomous vehicles determine the best transportation routes. Self-driving electric cars can also decrease fuel consumption and, using AI, can calculate the best traffic route to take. Not only that, AI can determine optimal places to put recharging stations in line with electric grids, adding even more efficiency. Considering that, as of 2018, the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere is the highest it has been in 3 million years, I think now is a good time to invest in AI!
We often leave home in the morning having left thermostats untouched. As our homes are heating and cooling all day, valuable energy is being wasted. AI and machine learning can help us to preserve this energy by monitoring devices and learning patterns of human use. The devices can then automatically adapt the temperature based on those patterns which can save energy – and money! Humans might forget to turn down the thermostat, but a machine won’t.
There is a next generation field of weather prediction developing that will allow experts to transform their understanding of climate change. Computers can run much faster thanks to deep-learning networks as well as bringing more complexity into the calculations. In just over 10 years, home computers will have the same power as today’s supercomputers which reduce research costs, increase scientific productivity and expedite discoveries. This will help experts to predict extreme events and help us gain a deeper understanding of how our planet is changing and the steps we can take to change it. This is really important given that 17 of the 18 warmest years have occurred since 2000!
Utilising its learning capabilities, AI can be used to spot signs of crop disease and it can automate feeding of animals based on patterns of supply and demand. This helps those in the industry to make smarter decisions and optimise the use of resources. AI promises to increase the efficiency of the agriculture industry by reducing water, fertiliser pesticide usage which can be damaging to the environment.
Smart Cities are arguably the most exciting potential of AI for planet sustainability. Cities across the world, including Manchester, are already adopting small amounts of AI to transform the way our cities, and everything in them, are connected. AI allows for real-time city-wide data on energy, water usage and storage, traffic flows, people flows, and weather that together could create a new level of connectivity to increase a city’s sustainability.
The power of AI never ceases to amaze. To find out the technology is transforming the workplace, click here.