However, AI is no longer just a hard-to-grasp concept. It's now embedded within the very fabric of modern society, including the investment space. Despite warnings from many notable futurists, AI has the potential to fight climate change.
Fearing The Unknown
One global report found that consumers lack an understanding of how they can benefit from AI. Only 34% of survey-takers thought they used technology with AI when, in actuality, the vast majority did. The research also found that 70% of consumers harbor fears about artificial intelligence. Many people don't realize how much AI is already integrated into their daily routines.
My take: This fear is simply fear of the unknown, and it's time to turn your AI apprehension into AI acclimatization. AI has the potential to improve businesses and society by making markets, systems, products and projects more accurate, cost-effective, efficient and resilient.
AI In The Real World
The only way to lessen the public's fear surrounding AI is to educate consumers on the positive everyday uses of the technology. Many market sectors, especially the energy sector, have started to implement AI and are seeing significant return on investment.
AI is improving the accuracy and precision of climate change assessments. These assessments rely on global-scale models of the climate system that are then downscaled to regional and local assessments. Downscaling can be problematic due to local factors affecting how broad changes in the climate are revealed where people reside — whether they're in urban locations, along coastlines or in rural areas. AI is making it possible to connect the downscaling process with better information about actual impacts, including disease, weather, infrastructure damage and other factors. As a result, scientists are able to make real-time adjustments to climate change assessments.
Connecting With Students To Connect Them To Their Education
AI is also making assets and systems more resilient, maximizing performance and mitigating avoidable complications pre-emptively. For example, in the wind industry, AI is being used to select the right turbine for a particular region, optimize output and prevent equipment failures before they occur. With performance transparency and assurance, AI increases the confidence of energy suppliers and investors by providing data intelligence to reduce risks and maximize returns.
Businesses can also benefit from utilizing AI technology that gives them greater control over energy usage in their buildings, resulting in increased energy efficiency and lower operating costs overall. For the first time in history, corporate and private consumers alike have the ability to gain insight into and management over their energy profile.
As a 2019 Brookings report pointed out, there is discussion around whether there is some form of bias in how AI technologies affect the energy supply. For example, one question is whether AI gives more of a competitive advantage to higher-carbon forms of energy over lower-carbon ones. However, even though Brookings' David Victor points out that "AI is having a bigger impact in oil and gas than in renewables" currently, I predict AI adoption within the renewables sector to rapidly increase over the next few years due to the sector’s increasing appetite and need for innovative solutions.
Using AI To Mitigate Climate Change
Ted Turner sums it up well: "While the problem can sometimes seem overwhelming, we can turn things around — but we must move beyond climate talk to climate action." It's time to re-imagine AI as a tool that helps, rather than threatens, humanity. AI acclimatization will occur as the public increasingly understands its potential to help solve the climate change crisis.