AI can support the sustainable future2 min read

AI can support the sustainable future2 min read

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) can enable a sustainable future?

This is a question Microsoft, in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), tries to respond to, providing all the insights into a specific report.

Artificial Intelligence and Sustainability

Main findings

Using AI for environmental applications has the potential to boost global GDP by 3.1-4.4% while also reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by around 1.5-4.0% by 2030 relative to Business as Usual (BAU).

Economic benefits could be predominantly captured by Europe, East Asia, and North America regions as they each achieve GDP gains in excess of US$1 trillion.

AI applications in energy (up to -2.2%) and transport (up to -1.7%) have the largest impact on GHG emissions reduction of our sectors covered, but water and agriculture still have an important role to play for the environment more broadly.

These projections rely not just on AI, but on the adoption of a wider complementary technology infrastructure

AI applications can offer environmental benefits beyond GHG emissions, including impacts on water quality, air pollution, deforestation, land degradation, and biodiversity.

For example, there are several impacts of agricultural AI levers on the economy and environment such as:

Agricultural robotics

AI robotics that is programmed to carry out agricultural tasks autonomously with optimal timing (es. an autonomous tractor picking fruit only when ripe).

Precision monitoring of environmental conditions for agriculture and forestry

Utilizing field sensors to precisely measure the impact of environmental factors and inputs on agricultural and forestry activities, and providing agri-advisory services (i.e. monitoring local weather conditions to predict the impact on yield and tailor required inputs).

Land-use planning and management

Using AI for mapping agricultural and forestry activities over time for better farm management and better enforcement of regulation.

Monitoring of crop, soil, and livestock health

Monitoring conditions of agriculture (i.e crop health, prevalence of pests, disease among livestock) to inform better management of crop habitats, and of livestock. For example, monitoring and identification of pests in real-time to inform the use of pesticides, including volume needed, specific locations on a farm that pesticides are needed, etc.

The same positive impacts are evaluated for energy AI levers (i.e. smart monitoring and management of energy consumption, energy supply, and demand prediction, coordination of decentralized energy networks, predictive maintenance, increased operational efficiency of renewable assets, increased operational efficiency of fossil fuel assets); transport AI levers (i.e autonomous vehicles, autonomous deliveries, traffic optimization of connected vehicles, demand prediction and logistics planning, predictive maintenance for vehicles), water AI levers (i.e. predictive maintenance of water infrastructure, monitoring and predicting water demand, monitoring wastewater sources).

Sources: Report “How AI can enable a Sustainable Future“, PwC
Featured image by ju Irun from Pixabay

Giuseppe Perrone

Author and initiator of TwentyNow. ESG Manager in a tech unicorn after a 10 year experience in a big4 consulting firm. Travel lover, (former) basketball player, (current) outdoor basketball fighter. I love also mountain biking and running. I had the idea of creating TwentyNow to bring out the latest ESG trends and sustainability initiatives on a global scale, implemented by companies or bring forward by individuals.