Costas Polycarpou asserts that with the aid of AI progress, we can create a sustainable and healthy future. Artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies are increasingly being regarded to foresee and reduce its effects as climate change accelerates the destruction from storms, wildfires, and droughts.

Amid the dispersion of deadly coronavirus around the globe that took thousands of lives and hindered our way of living for several months. This lethal virus filled people with despair and indifference, but Costas Polycarpou believed that we could build up a healthy and sustainable future with the help of AI advancement.

AI may be used in a variety of settings and economic sectors to help manage environmental effects and climate change. Precision agriculture, sustainable supply chains, environmental monitoring and compliance, and improved weather and catastrophe prediction and response are a few examples of applications.  Modeling the economic effect of AI's use to manage the environment across four sectors—agriculture, water, energy, and transportation—research by PwC UK was commissioned by Microsoft.

Hackney Gazette: AI has the potential to generate 38.2 million net new employment worldwide, delivering more skilled vocations as part of this transitionAI has the potential to generate 38.2 million net new employment worldwide, delivering more skilled vocations as part of this transition (Image: Costas Polycarpou)

As Costas Polycarpou says, the technology is already in use to create greener smart cities in China, monitor deforestation in the Amazon, and deliver natural catastrophe alerts to Japan.

While suggesting how we use AI applications to optimize the deployment of renewable energy sources Costas Polycarpou says, we can supply solar and wind energy into the electrical grid as needed, increase power storage, and design more energy-efficient structures.

On a lesser scale, it may assist families in reducing their energy use by automatically turning off lights when not in use or rerouting electricity from electric cars to the grid to fulfil expected demand.

AI has the potential to generate 38.2 million net new employment worldwide, delivering more skilled vocations as part of this transition, at the same time as productivity gains.

According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology research, the data storage and processing required to completely train a complex algorithm can use a significant amount of energy, producing up to 626,000 pounds (284,000 kg) of carbon dioxide.

“AI has the ability to both advance and undermine efforts to combat global climate issues, we have to use in a certain direction to make much of it,” says Costas Polycarpou. Adding to his words, Polycarpou says the way climate issues disrupt our daily lives, we don't have much time to combat it if no implementation is done now.

According to the International Energy Agency, data centers now consume 1% or less of the world's power to process and store data from online activities like sending emails and streaming films. Costas Polycarpou also urges, “It is far from adequate to rely on technology to fix the issue in the future and, in doing so, to ease our consciences in the short to medium term”.

Furthermore, according to some projections, the global energy requirement for computers will reach 8% by 2030, which raises concerns that additional fossil fuels would need to be used as a result.

In the end, how AI is governed internationally may determine how it is used to combat climate change. The kind of technology we are now employing makes privacy concerns quite specialized. Costas Polycarpou indicates that a remedy is about to be offered. The trade-off between energy usage and privacy is made easier if more algorithms are added that rely less heavily on user data. In the near future, these algorithms would be "as efficient" as those already in use.