AI to Answer the Call of the Net-Zero Challenge

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Our founder and CEO, Amir Husain, recently joined Lord John Browne on the “Net Zero and Beyond” podcast, where he discussed net-zero, AI, and energy consumption. The two leaders highlighted some of the ways AI supports the energy industry’s goals of achieving a more efficient and sustainable future. 

What is Net-zero?

Net-zero refers to the balance between greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. That is to say; we reach net-zero emissions when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away. 

How AI will help humanity use less energy

Technology is already helping to solve humanity’s most significant challenges. From tackling climate change to addressing global health challenges, technological advancements drive innovations and push the barriers.  

Science is far more advanced than ever before – cars can drive themselves. Advanced image recognition enables more accurate identification of diseases, and you can have a conversation with your mobile phone. And it’s all thanks to human-like smart machines using artificial intelligence (AI). 

However, in a world with a growing population and shrinking resources, the race is on to figure out how humans can continue to thrive on this planet. Sustainability needs to be at the forefront of our AI strategy. We know that “with great power comes great responsibility” to our planet. But how can we use AI to tackle climate change?

Rethinking climate change

When discussing energy and climate change, most people focus on increasing the sustainable energy supply. Far less thought is spent on energy demand. How can we reduce emissions by being more efficient?

While humanity may be naturally inefficient, computers certainly are not. They can do what people cannot do, and they can do it faster. That’s where AI has significant potential. 

Can we become more efficient? Rethink our processes? Find different ways of doing things? Those are the critical challenges that AI can solve. 

Applying AI in industry

If you look at the global energy demand, about a quarter goes into industry. Within industry, certain processes produce a lot of energy, operating expensively and inefficiently. AI ensures better operational efficiencies and reduces power consumption. 

Take cement production, which requires a lot of energy, as an example. Each part of the process can be optimized, which leads to substantial cost and time savings. However, that’s only one example in one industry. The adoption of AI technology is a choice for all industries worldwide. AI can pre-calculate and execute micro-actions for you, so the tiny improvements all add up to significant reductions in power consumption.

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AI in the home

When thinking about technology in our homes, we must consider how we consume power. Can we save energy as individuals? We all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. 

As human beings, we aren’t constantly thinking about every device and every power source. We face controlling all of the elements within the home. It’s not a hardware problem; it’s a software problem. And, again, AI provides the solution.

AI transforming transport

Another area where AI can create massive energy improvements is transportation, specifically in the shipping industry. AI can better predict shipping container logistics and ship arrival times. More accurately predicting the supply chain, navigating complex multi-variant routing problems like ship traffic and unpredictable weather means more intelligent control systems and more innovative routing. There is a lot that AI can do to impact energy consumption and gas emissions from the transportation sector.

What can AI do for us that can help us reduce greenhouse gases and create a better world?

One of the significant challenges post-2050 is reducing per capita consumption. Increasing that means harming the environment. 

With AI and digital artifacts at an early stage right now, the footprint is much smaller than physical possession. They are essentially virtual goods. We value them like we value material possessions, but it’s limitless in how much you can produce and keep. 

AI technology can drive efficiencies and automate large-scale action to reduce emissions. AI could also make discoveries in material science or revolutionize how we store energy. Additionally, AI could lead to designs that make long-range electric flight viable. AI as an instrument of automating design and discovery is in its early phase. Still, it is within reach of being used in so many areas and already being used in major industries, including health care, education, and finance.

It is a time to be optimistic about using AI in its current form to help buy us more time in the fight against energy consumption. But we must use that time wisely to get to the next level of innovation. 

Listen to the full interview for more insights into Amir’s conversation with Lord Browne.

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