Artificial Intelligence and Sustainability

Technology has frequently been hailed as one of the factors for developing countries to move forward and rapidly catch up to the level of income and economic growth. Artificial intelligence has been creating a stir in the global economy for quite some time. Many of us are not aware of the environmental impact of AI.

The advantages of Artificial Intelligence can be seen in every sector of the global economy. It is now being touted as a critical instrument for the international community in accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs). For achieving the Goals, AI could act as both an inhibitor and an exhibitor. Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining traction in a variety of sectors, including environmental, sustainability, and climate science research. Related technologies such as the Internet of Things, robots, etc. stress investments that are related to the day to day living by boosting productivity and producing new goods. The natural language processing model which is regarded as one of the coaching models is said to emit greenhouse gas 5X times of an American car can produce in a lifetime.

Even though AI technology can help achieve the UNSDGs, it is not necessarily a solution. Rather than using a turnkey strategy, many AI systems are developed through an evolutionary process. For each AI application, a holistic evaluation will be required, by taking into account the societal, economic, and environmental implications of digital sustainability. In the pursuit of sustainability goals, there are four areas where AI and related technologies could pose a systemic risk. These include a) algorithmic bias and allocative harms; b) unequal access and benefits; c) cascade failures and external disruptions, and d) efficiency-resilience trade-offs. If not handled effectively, these risks have the potential to reduce components of sustainability.

Applications of AI, if implemented correctly, can make our future systems more productive for the economy and the environment. Now the question arises as to how far will the combination of AI and sustainability take us?

To know more about the topic, do attend our Global Talk Series on the topic, “Artificial Intelligence & Sustainability” on January 27, 2022.


  1. Akshita Arora says:

    Very interesting!

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