AI can bring some daunting impressions. Widespread job losses and apocalyptic scenarios of super intelligence confronting mankind are just two of topics that the media like to focus on. The ethical responsibility around algorithmic decisions tends to command much attention but with that, the benefits of AI contributing to a more sustainable future become overlooked.
The examples are already there. The NEST thermostat can efficiently adjust central heating on the go, avoiding unnecessarily losses. Imagine if that same practice was scaled to the whole shop floor of a massive factory.
Earlier this year, Google DeepMind announced its collaboration with the UK National Grid to use AI to balance energy supply and demand. Though optimisation they expect to cut the UK's energy usage by 10%. Through our own work with Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK)
–one of the world's leading steel producers – we successfully demonstrated how use of AI can help decrease raw material use in steelmaking. MMK achieved an average decrease of 5% in ferroalloy use, equating to expected annual savings of more than $4 million per year just for one application.
As data processing and storage costs drop, and computing power and algorithms become readily available, AI occupies unique spot. It can not only bring tangible business returns in a very short term but also positively impacts energy consumption, and related environmental aspects in global production. Maybe it's time to include AI in your sustainability roadmap?