Despite the often manic nature of our news cycle, we see two constants in it: immediate action is needed to preserve the environment, and the development of artificial intelligence is progressing at an unfathomable rate. While these may not seem related, their compatibility is undeniable. In fact, artificial intelligence is already doing a hefty share to protect our environment.

The concept of technological developments helping the environment isn’t new. Cruise control functions in cars, for example, do more than simply help you avoid a speeding ticket – they regulate your gas usage, saving you money and spewing fewer emissions. Many mass transit systems now cut carbon emissions with the use of electric bus models.

Applying artificial intelligence to existing transit advancements produces even greater results – and this is simply one example of how artificial intelligence changes the landscape for the environment. Artificial intelligence helps in many industries, including cybersecurity and customer service. Some of the world’s most successful businesses already use artificial intelligence regularly.

Artificial Intelligence and Environment
Artificial intelligence is already doing a hefty share to protect our environment.

AI Helps the Environment With Predictive Analysis

When you flip a coin, you know there’s a 50% chance that it will land on either side. You can test the results by doing hundreds of coin flips. On a more complex level, that’s what artificial intelligence can do. Algorithms analyze buying decisions and human behavior, then determine the probability of certain responses to specific stimuli. This enables data analysts to make adjustments to better serve the consumer. That’s predictive analysis, and it is transforming the business world.

Google’s algorithm is the most famous example of this, as its goal is to serve the user and adapt to provide the most useful search results possible. In Australia, scientists and business leaders use predictive analysis to cope with droughts and to create a stormwater infrastructure. Additionally, using ecological data, Microsoft technology can use predictive analysis to balance the urban carbon budget.

Artificial Intelligence Analyzes Data About the Changing Climate

Exactly how much of our planet is covered in rainforests and other biomes that produce fresh oxygen and neutralize our carbon emissions? It’s not the easiest percentage to quantify from Earth itself, but from a spacecraft above our planet, it’s possible. Technology can scan information about our forests at a detailed level, even predicting regrowth – all with the help of data analysis.

Artificial Intelligence Makes Fact-Based Decisions

We’re in a race against time to save the environment, but we’re not alone. By 2030, scientists estimate the proficiency of artificial intelligence will be able to exceed human levels by practically every metric. This means AI can do our jobs and make fact-based decisions about how to best solve problems our environment faces. We can program AI to choose the best ways to save the environment and enact it. We can also program AI to consider the fiscal drawbacks and benefits of our evolving economy.

This, of course, is where the fear of AI comes in: What if the best way to protect the environment means eradicating humanity? How would AI resolve this conundrum? Programmers will have to solve that issue with urgency, as it is highly likely that the preservation of our environment is only possible with the help of artificial intelligence.

We Can Reduce Waste With Artificial Intelligence

The easiest implementations for environmental preservation involve the ones that are the most profitable. How can we make it easy for companies to get on board with environmental regulations? There’s no doubt that there is pressure from consumers to embrace corporate social responsibility in regards to sustainability. However, perhaps the most persuasive argument for entrepreneurs to embrace AI is that it can help them save money in addition to reducing waste.

Have you ever received one of those large packages from Amazon, only to find your small contents within? It seems like a waste of packaging. There’s an easier way, and Amazon’s already on it: Machine intelligence can figure out the best packaging for any given product, given its dimensions, then pack and ship it to you in the most cost-effective way. This little change might not seem like a lot, but multiply it by the 608 million packages Amazon ships per year and its potential is clear.

The same logic applies to other technologies that reduce waste. One consumer in a self-driving electric car might not make a difference, but an entire city full of people doing the same would make a noticeable impact on reducing carbon emissions. With the help of AI, it’s easy to see how one small difference, multiplied, can make a truly global change.

AI Helps Us Understand Our Environment and Its Importance

There’s a big difference between reading about the potential devastation of our planet and seeing it in action. While facts and figures are staggering, they do not have the same impact as changes in an environment you observe every day.

Imagine equipping virtual reality goggles and using augmented reality software to view your favorite beach as it will look in the not-so-distant future. Instead of standing on the shoreline, you’ll find yourself, in this simulation of the future, submerged. The sea level has risen. Picture the wildlife disappearing before your eyes. This is the type of empathetic design that artificial intelligence can help us feel and experience.

This type of impactful experience is what can truly motivate humans to action — to put preservation above profit and ensure the artificial intelligence being introduced to our workforce can help protect the environment we cherish. With the help of artificial intelligence, it’s not too late to save the environment.

Frankie Wallace

Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the northwest who contributes to a wide variety of blogs online. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho and is a recent graduate from the University of Montana.
Frankie Wallace

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