r/environment – Will Green AI help businesses rethink sustainability?


Apr 5, 2021 – Green AI is a popular topic of conversation in the tech community. The belief is that AI can also help reduce the effects of the climate crisis by building a greener and more inclusive future. Despite AI using vast amounts of energy, many believe that the unlikely partnership of AI and sustainability could be the perfect match. Big tech is currently racing to be carbon negative by 2030, and AI will play a key role in ensuring these targets are met. For example, Google’s DeepMind division developed AI to improve energy efficiencies when cooling its data centres.

AI helped Google reduce its data centre cooling by 40%.


In agriculture, AI is also promising to transform production by monitoring, learning, and managing environmental conditions. AI’s deep predictive capabilities combined with intelligent grid systems can also manage the supply of renewable energy. Green AI is also drastically improving the sustainability and efficiency of supply chains. Critics would argue that AI cannot help build a sustainable future if it’s not sustainable by design. The AI revolution is proving costly for our environment with worrying increases in CO2 emissions. Whether the pros genuinely outweigh the cons will depend on how businesses approach their goals, future strategy, and technology. Although we have witnessed giant leaps forward with advances in AI, the efficient use of energy in its infrastructure is still very primitive. A quick look in the history books reveals similarities in how the arrival of steam engines and later electricity transformed our world. We also need to learn from our past and how progress can impact our planet. Here in 2021, it’s AI, the IoT, big data, and cloud computing that has the power to help businesses become more sustainable, low-emission, renewable, and efficient. But the push for energy-efficient Green AI will require very different strategies and a commitment to continuous improvement. Businesses need to see Green AI as having two sides. One for sustainability and the other for the sustainability of green AI itself…

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