Can AI Create a Greener World?

Illustration generated using DALL·E 2.

Energy optimisation and human ingenuity

Of course we know AI is data intensive, and that massive amounts of data is energy intensive, but AI can also control that energy it can negate its own consumption with the benefits it can create; so basically we are talking energy optimisation. Let’s take agriculture as an example.
Our climate is changing, the global population is still growing and demand for quality crops is increasing. With limited fresh water resources and available land resources a combination of AI and human ingenuity is needed if we are to be able to feed all those hungry mouths. One of the solutions is to combine hydroponics with vertical farming to grow food in massive greenhouses.
Now these greenhouses are energy intensive, but with energy consumption monitored and managed by AI, their productive capabilities for growing food far outweigh their appetite for energy.
AI can ensure that the right food is grown is the right quantities, in the right places and at the right time to ensure supply never fails to meet constant demand.

Optimised transportation

And what about the transport routes that food needs to travel along. Once again AI can be utilised to maximise transportation efficiencies. Using AI to better understanding our current road and transport infrastructure will help improve traffic flows, reduce congestion and shorten travel times with a resultant reduction in fuel consumption. And even if we are all driving electric cars, they require charging, which requires energy, so the more we can maximise even electric car efficiency the more we can reduce our overall energy footprint.

Keeping cool

And then of course we have infrastructure energy consumption. As the climate changes and the world heats up, extreme hot weather is starting to be more prevalent. The need to keep cool is only going to increase. Once again, using AI to predict extreme hot weather events can help infrastructure managers better prepare to cope with high temperatures by maximising energy efficiencies.
So if AI needs 1000 MWh but saves 1200 MWh in energy then it is safe to say yes, AI can indeed create a greener world.

Written by Ian Bowie