Artificial intelligence is taking the IT industry by storm. From intelligent computers that can compete against humans on game shows to self-learning robotics on the assembly line, next-gen computers are set to be smarter than ever before. While many experts are focusing on a few specific applications, AI can be useful in many different areas, including sustainability, to help reduce our carbon footprints and protect against climate change for years to come.
Artificial Intelligence and Renewable Energy
Renewable forms of energy, such as solar, wind and hydroelectric, are seeing increased usage around the globe. While they still have a long way to go before they replace fossil fuels, AI could help pave the way for these systems to enter the mainstream.
At its current state, many forms of renewable energy are unstable and inconsistent. Solar panels require exposure to sunlight and UV rays to draw power. Windmills require strong winds to power the turbines and generate electricity. Artificial intelligence can help with sustainability efforts such as these in many different ways.
Officials in the UK have recently introduced a concept known as demand-side response. Through the program, consumers are rewarded for minimizing their electricity usage. In some cases, certain customers are being asked to help store excess power to accommodate times of peak demand.
Artificial Intelligence on the Road
Electric and hybrid vehicles have been on the market for years already, but their limitations have caused a lot of hesitation among consumers. Next-gen AI has the potential to change this and make these vehicles more attractive to the average driver.
Toyota recently unveiled the Concept-i vehicle at the CES 2017 consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas. The car uses AI to track metrics like road and weather conditions, driver attention and more. Individual drivers can even customize different options for manual and autonomous driving.
Although it isn’t clear if the Concept-i will even enter full-scale production, breakthroughs like this illustrate just how far AI has come within the last few years. Even more importantly, it shows how AI can be used to complement sustainability in all aspects of our daily lives.
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Artificial Intelligence and Construction
The construction industry is also benefiting from AI. Building information modeling, or BIM, is a process that uses advanced datasets, detailed specifications and projected figures to create a digital mockup of a new building before it’s constructed on-site. This gives engineers and architects the opportunity to gauge and optimize a facility’s carbon footprint before physically breaking ground.
Construction will benefit from AI in many different ways. Apart from streamlining and optimizing the initial design phase, builders can use AI to keep track of human resources, as well as labor allocation, scheduling and forecasting. Since AI is an additive technology that is designed to learn over time, such functionality will become more accurate and efficient year after year.
AI is even in today’s home appliances. Smart thermostats can automatically adjust your home’s interior temperature to ensure year-round comfort. Ovens can automate portions of the cooking process to help ease the burden of preparing your nightly meals. Builders who outfit their new homes with this kind of green technology and AI can have a significant impact on the future of sustainability around the world.
Artificial Intelligence in Our Daily Lives
While the concept of sustainability isn’t anything new, the practice has received a jumpstart from next-gen technologies like AI. Although it will likely be several years before we see any significant improvements to our current sustainability efforts, the technology is already available in today’s smart appliances, hybrid cars and alternative energy infrastructure. Some experts believe it’s only a matter of time until we see the widespread consumer adoption of AI in all facets of our daily lives.