Between the meteoric rise of ESG (environment, social, and governance) concerns, corporate paradigm shifts and sustainability regulations, much of the world is going green. Where does this leave AI? Is it shaping up to be a help or a hindrance?
Like most of the discussions surrounding AI, the jury is out. As a general purpose tool (GPT), AI has the potential to help almost every cornerstone of modern industry evolve. In some cases, the transformative power of AI is proving invaluable in the race to prevent climate catastrophe (look at what it’s doing for our food supply chains already), but it’s a complex situation, and questions need to be asked about the extent of its carbon footprint.
Currently, data centres alone account for between 2.7 and 3.5% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions (according to data from 8Billion Trees), and it’s expected to rise in the coming years.
That said, advancements in AI might prove to be its solution. Here’s what it’s been doing so far to support the move to a greener future, and, if you’re hoping to make an impact of your own, how you can get involved.
1. Climate Modelling
Climate modelling is a vastly intricate process involving a wealth of data, data that AI can analyse in moments. From predicting extreme weather to the development of physics-based ocean models, advancements in AI have made our instruments more accurate, faster, and more dependable than ever before.
2. Increasing Technological Efficiency
Whether it's optimising batteries in self-driving cars, identifying opportunities to reduce office energy consumption, or simply upgrading smart thermostats, AI’s pivotal role in increasing tech efficiency is already helping accelerate the transition to a Net-Zero future.
3. Enabling Streamlined Hydrogen Production
Hydrogen energy is set to play a leading part in the transition to a greener future, catalysed by modern AI-enabled technologies. Speaking of catalysts, AI can be used to identify, develop, and design new catalysts for streamlining the production of hydrogen. For example, researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have been utilising AI and machine learning to develop sustainable, cost-effective methods of generating hydrogen as part of the DIFFERENTIATE programme, a project that ran for the last three years.
4. The Production of Bioplastics
Through the AI revolution, the production of bioplastics represents a sustainable alternative to the traditional plastics economy. Historically, the benefits of developing non-fossil fuel-based plastics have often been counteracted by the environmental impact of the resulting wastage – AI can be leveraged to uncover more efficient production methods, reducing waste in the process.
5. Vertical Farming
Hailed by many as the solution to the world’s food shortages, vertical farming has gained momentum in recent years thanks to the advent of powerful computer vision and robotics-focused methodologies. For example, US-based company BrightFarms uses a range of AI-enabled robotics and blockchain technologies to automate various aspects of precision agriculture, increasing the food quality and reducing wastage in the process.
Exciting Career Opportunities
For those interested in embarking on a fulfilling career at the intersection of AI and sustainability, you could be in luck – there are countless new avenues to explore, and many of them rest at the leading edge of technological discovery.
Environmental Data Scientists, Sustainable Agriculture Specialists, AI Ethics Consultants, and Computer Vision Engineer jobs have seen a meteoric rise in demand over the last few years, coinciding with the increasing investment activity in the ESG-related space.
Whether you’re hoping to hire or get hired, the team at DeepRec.ai has you covered. We have over two decades’ worth of experience recruiting in the DeepTech space, and we enjoy nothing more than connecting passionate tech professionals with environments they can thrive in.
Want to explore a world of new opportunities? Reach out to the team today, we’re here to help.