Artificial intelligence may create fear of job loss and privacy concerns or for some people sci-fi dystopias. However, machine learning can also help humans save a significant amount of energy and make renewable better. Video streaming services use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn our tastes and suggest what we might like to watch next. The AI bots have beaten the world’s best players in complex board games like chess and Go. A few scientists even believe the brink of AI may one day achieve superhuman intelligence resulting in apocalyptic scenarios.
To eliminate such kinds of fears, the United Nations AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva in this month highlights many AI applications to deal with the pressing problems of our time including climate change. Some countries aren’t cutting emissions nearly fast enough but AI can speed things up for them. When it comes to handling data, a field called machine learning can easily process colossal amounts of data to make energy systems more efficient.
To fulfill the Paris Agreement and those who are unaware of it, the countries have to virtually eliminate fossil-fueled energy from all sectors of the economy even if they are dependent on it. This means networking decentralized, improving the renewable power generation with consumers that strategically adjust to minimize waste and balance the entire system. According to many experts, efficiently managing data on such a large scale can only be possible with the help of Artificial Intelligence.
To be able to design this reliable system, we require digital technologies and abundant data that have to be quickly collected and analyzed. Artificial Intelligence or machine learning algorithms can help countries manage this complexity and get to zero emissions.
Cutting Energy Consumption
However, the transformation of pictures or sounds into a digital form comes with a wide array of problems as well as the huge amount of energy all this data processing itself consumes. Sims Witherspoon is an experienced program manager at Deepmind, the British Artificial Intelligence firm owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet that developed the Go-playing bot. She explains that data centers are the huge “server farms” around the world that store huge amount of users’ data now consume 3% of global energy. The reason Deepmind decided to use its “general purpose learning algorithms” to lower the energy needed to cool Google data centers by up to forty percent.