December 14, 2019

Artificial Intelligence: Using AI to fight for more Environmental and Climate Protection

It is not just about sanctions or inflation: climate change and environmental degradation are also becoming threats to the global economy. But digital technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) can make a significant contribution to countering these risks.

This is shown, for example, by studies conducted by the World Economic Forum and PwC, as well as by internationally renowned AI experts.
Artificial Intelligence Using AI to fight for more Environmental and Climate Protection: eAskme
Artificial Intelligence Using AI to fight for more Environmental and Climate Protection: eAskme

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While many of today's environmental and climate problems have only arisen as a result of industrialization, the next industrial revolution can also help to meet these challenges. There are now a number of projects that use AI to understand climate change and conserve resources.

But also to improve air and water quality, stop the loss of species, help with energy transport logistics, combat poaching or illegal fishing or predict natural disasters.

In its Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth study published with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the World Economic Forum lists over 80 possible applications. One of them being Gaylord Boxes which presents an eco-friendly solution.

"If we succeed in using the technology properly in the fight against climate change and environmental pollution, we will trigger a sustainability revolution," says Hendrik Fink, Partner and Head of Sustainability Services at PwC.

In particular, he refers to the six most pressing challenges identified by his consulting firm together with the World Economic Forum: In addition to climate change and the preservation of biodiversity, healthy oceans and a secure water supply, these include clean air and resistance to extreme weather or natural disasters.

Artificial intelligence, for example, is already helping to develop intelligent power supplies, monitor terrestrial and marine ecosystems, predict water demand and extreme weather conditions.

Robert Habeck: AI for the climate is very welcome

"Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity and we experts in machine learning are asking ourselves how we can help," says the introduction to a scientific study published in June at Cornel University: Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning.

The authors include well-known AI thinkers such as DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, Turing Award winner Yoshua Bengio and Google Brain co-founder Andrew Ng.

They have examined 13 topics such as power supply, transport or agriculture and present concrete examples of how machine learning can contribute to the protection of the environment.

Among other things, they describe how AI can control electricity demand, enable energy-efficient construction or optimize supply chains.

However, artificial intelligence is not a panacea, say the experts. Politics is still the most important engine to really achieve something.

"We have to make dramatic progress in climate protection," said Robert Habeck, recently head of the Green Party. "If AI helps to save the climate, it is warmly welcome.

As examples at the Handelsblatt event Morals and Machines, he cited animal-friendly agriculture, in which overproduction of liquid manure must also be regulated, and a future-oriented mobility control system that no longer focuses on the car.

The turnaround in the energy industry and the necessary restructuring of industry are also only possible with the help of intelligent algorithms.

In this way, the AI can contribute a great deal to environmental protection.

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