AI, Data and the Battle against Climate Change

AI, Data and the Battle against Climate Change
The V1 Edition

The future of artificial intelligence has been generating plenty of foreboding headlines, including claims that the technology could be used to spark a “third revolution in warfare”. However, the rapid advances in machine learning are also being harnessed for the power of good. In fact, some experts believe that AI is a key tool in our battle against climate change.

One of the biggest challenges facing climate change scientists and researchers is the torrents of data that come with analyzing and studying the climate. Machine learning programs are vital in helping to collate and make sense of this information.

But more than that, it’s the implementation of data collecting models where AI really comes into its own in the fight against climate change. As countries become more reliant on green energy sources, they must face the challenge that renewable energy is more difficult to disperse to consumers – a task beyond the capabilities of a manual system, but within that of an AI-managed program.

AI will also be vital in managing the systems used to measure energy consumption, predominantly the 500-million smart meters to be placed in homes throughout Europe by 2020. According to Valentin Robu, an assistant professor of smart systems at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, “Managing all these assets is impossible to do for a human controller, especially as response times required are often in the order of a few seconds.” And that’s where machine learning comes in: live AI systems are able to analyze a data problem and create their own software designs to deal with the task, without the need for human intervention.

And to boot, the AI software will alleviate the existing energy needs created by data centers, which currently make up around 3 percent of global energy use. In contrast to the fear and anxiety surrounding AI in the press, scientists around the world are taking practical steps to make AI more a savior to humanity than the architect of its demise.