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TOO4TO MODULE 7
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Sustainability
SECTION 2
2
Part 2
Artificial Intelligence applications and impacts for Sustainable Development (SD)
Learning objectives of part 2:
• To learn how AI techniques can be applied to achieve Sustainable Development Goals
• To analyse examples of AI in different social and economic sectors
3
Definitions of Sustainability and Sustainable
Development (I/II)
Sustainability
The word sustainability can be defined as “the
quality of being able to continue over a period of
time” (Cambridge Dictionary, link)
Rising global challenges, ranging from
environmental crisis to social problems, have led
the discussions on sustainability of our planet and
well-being of living beings intensified over the
course of the last decades.
In that context, the concept of sustainability is
mostly used to include social, environmental and
economic dimensions and closely linked to
sustainable development.
Sustainable Development
The Brundtland Commission’s definition of
sustainable development from 1987 is the most
commonly accepted definition of the concept and
defines it as the development that “meets the
needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own
needs.” (link).
Short Video: What is Sustainability
4
Definitions of Sustainability and Sustainable
Development (II/II)
Although in certain cases these two concepts are used interchangeably, it is important to understand what
distinguishes them.
“Sustainability is often thought of as a long-term goal (i.e. a more sustainable world), while sustainable
development refers to the many processes and pathways to achieve it (e.g. sustainable agriculture and
forestry, sustainable production and consumption, good government, research and technology transfer,
education and training, etc.)” (UNESCO, link).
Short Read: Sustainability and Sustainable Development - What is Sustainability and What is Sustainable
Development?
5
Interlinkages between AI and Sustainable Development
(I/II)
From a global perspective, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already part of our reality. AI methods and tools such
as machine learning, artificial neural networks and deep learning are affecting the way we produce and buy
goods, the way we learn, the way we perceive reality, the way we live.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also known as the Global Goals. In 2015 the United
Nations (UN) made a call “ to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people
enjoy peace and prosperity” through the adoption of the goals (UN SDG, link).
There are 17 SDGs that cover different areas of action and that are interconnected to achieve a balance
between social, economic and environmental sustainability. The 17 SDGs are defined in a list of 169 SDG
targets and their progress can be tracked by 232 unique indicators (link).
6
UN Sustainable Development Goals
(Picture source: SDG tracker, link)
Interlinkages between AI and Sustainable Development
(II/II)
Researchers around the world are studying the effect of AI on every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)
and, although it is not a simple task to achieve in short time, there are already insightful results that help us
visualize the future of AI and Sustainability.
Ricardo Vinuesa et al. performed a literature search to prove the identified connections between AI tools
and techniques and the targets aiming to answer the question “Is there published evidence of AI acting as
an enabler or an inhibitor for this particular target?”. The study divided the SDGs into three categories:
Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainability to analyse the interlinkage proposed. The research
showed that AI can act as an enabler on 134 targets across all the DGDs while impacting negatively 59
targets.
The next slide provides a graphic summary of the results found.
Short Read: The role of artificial intelligence in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
8
(Picture source: Nature Communications, link)
AI For Good
In this short video, AI experts share
their insights about how this
technology can help achieving SDGs.
Short Video: AI For Good - SDGs
Applications of AI into sustainability fields
We have discussed how AI can help achieving
SDGs which are not only focused in
environmental, but also economic and social
sustainability. In the next slides examples of AI
applications into sustainability field are
presented.
(Picture source: Research gate, link)
AI in Smart Buildings for Energy Efficiency
Internet of Things (IoT) enables to connect building
operations like monitoring spaces temperature,
safety devices such as smoke detection sensors
and fire alarms. It facilitates maintenance by
tracking the state of the systems, equipment and
devices, via mobile devices and computers also
used to control them. When the users are able to
monitor and control building systems like heating,
cooling or ventilation, the reduction of energy use
becomes an easier task and it contributes to a
significant reduction of GHG emissions that are a
major concern to combat climate change.
12
Suggested Read: The Role of Machine Learning and the
Internet of Things in Smart Buildings for Energy Efficiency
AI in Smart Cities for Smart Decision-Making
Smart Cities aim to achieve environmental and
economic development, and improve society’s
living standards by utilizing Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) and AI. The
collection of data from sensors help improving
urban safety governance, so was the case when
the South-Korean Government used AI to combat
COVID-19 epidemic with the encouragement of
information exchange with their citizens that helped
them to understand the issue, and eventually
contributed to better implement safety protocols.
Suggested Read: Use of Artificial Intelligence in
Smart Cities for Smart Decision-Making: A Social
Innovation Perspective
(Picture source: BMC, link)
AI in Smart Cities for Trade opportunities
AI is capable to influence every aspect of society,
including commerce and trade, that affects also the
type of jobs and skills needed to be competitive in
the global market. Joshua Meltzer made an
insightful analysis on how AI influence trade
market: if productivity growth rises due to AI, firm
competitiveness will rise with it, creating new
opportunities for international trade. This means
that if the value of services in economic growth
increases, the share of services in international
trade should expand.
Short Read: Maximizing AI’s economic, social, and trade
opportunities
(Picture source: Pleaders, link)
Suggested Video: Smart City: How Amsterdam
Revolutionizes Energy
AI for protection of drinking water
Microsoft AI Lab projects developed a system to
detect dangerous bacteria and harmful particles in
water using deep learning neural network, called
“Clean Water AI”. The tool is an IoT device that
uses high definition cameras to detect and classify
the bacteria and harmful particles, and it can run
continuously in real time. The IoT devices can be
installed in water sources wherever needed in the
Cities that help avoiding significant health issues of
their citizens caused by the polluted water.
Short Read: Clean Water AI by Microsoft AI Lab Project
(Picture source: Jetson Clean Water, link)
UN Cooperation Network: AI4SDG
As previously analysed, AI is expected to be used to monitor the progress of SDGs activities, to simulate
their applications and impact, to predict outcomes as well to help policy makers to act based on large
amounts of available data. The United Nations (UN) has developed a cooperation network “to promote the
positive use of AI for Sustainable Development, and to investigate the negative impact of AI on Sustainable
Development”, AI4SDGs.
The network collects AI projects and proposals that are classified according to how they impact a specific
goal, as the examples presented in the next two slides.
Short Read: AI for Sustainable Development Goals (AI4SDGs) Think Tank
16
(Picture source: AI4SDGs Cooperation
Network, link)
(Picture source: AI4SDGs
Cooperation Network, link)
(Picture source: AI4SDGs Cooperation
Network, link)
Suggested Video: #AI4SDG 10: Podcast with Brian Patrick Green by Jiaqian Wang, AI Policy
REFERENCES
Definition of Sustainability. Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/sustainability
UCLA, What is Sustainability? YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx04Kl8y4dE
Circular Ecology - Sustainability and Sustainable Development - What is Sustainability and What is Sustainable Development?. Available at:
https://circularecology.com/sustainability-and-sustainable-development.html
United Nations - What are the Sustainable Development Goals? Available at https://www.undp.org/sustainable-development-
goals#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20Sustainable%20Development,people%20enjoy%20peace%20and%20prosperity.
SDG Indicators - Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Available at https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/Global%20Indicator%20Framework%20after%20refinement_Eng.pdf
SDG tracker - Measuring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Available at https://sdg-tracker.org/
Vinuesa, R., Azizpour, H., Leite, I. et al. The role of artificial intelligence in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Nat Commun 11, 233 (2020).
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14108-y
AI For Good - SDG. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bpuoj1Op1kY
Shah, Syed Faisal Abbas, Muhammad Iqbal, Zeeshan Aziz, Toqir A. Rana, Adnan Khalid, Yu-N Cheah, and Muhammad Arif. 2022. "The Role of Machine
Learning and the Internet of Things in Smart Buildings for Energy Efficiency" Applied Sciences 12, no. 15: 7882. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12157882
Smart Buildings and the Internet of Things. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOC8dnqAHJw
21
REFERENCES
Bokhari, Syed Asad A., and Seunghwan Myeong. 2022. "Use of Artificial Intelligence in Smart Cities for Smart Decision-Making: A Social Innovation
Perspective" Sustainability 14, no. 2: 620. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020620
Maximizing AI’s economic, social, and trade opportunities, Joshua P. Meltzer. Available at https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-
front/2019/05/13/maximizing-ais-economic-social-and-trade-opportunities/
AI Lab Project by Microsoft: Clean Water AI. Available at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ai/ai-lab-clean-water
AI for Sustainable Development Goals (AI4SDGs) Think Tank. Available at https://ai-for-sdgs.academy/
#AI4SDG 10: Podcast with Brian Patrick Green by Jiaqian Wang, AI Policy Labs. YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aigHZa2QfDk
22
End of Section 2.
23

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TOO4TO Module 7 / Artificial Intelligence and Sustainability: Part 2

  • 1.
  • 2. TOO4TO MODULE 7 Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Sustainability SECTION 2 2
  • 3. Part 2 Artificial Intelligence applications and impacts for Sustainable Development (SD) Learning objectives of part 2: • To learn how AI techniques can be applied to achieve Sustainable Development Goals • To analyse examples of AI in different social and economic sectors 3
  • 4. Definitions of Sustainability and Sustainable Development (I/II) Sustainability The word sustainability can be defined as “the quality of being able to continue over a period of time” (Cambridge Dictionary, link) Rising global challenges, ranging from environmental crisis to social problems, have led the discussions on sustainability of our planet and well-being of living beings intensified over the course of the last decades. In that context, the concept of sustainability is mostly used to include social, environmental and economic dimensions and closely linked to sustainable development. Sustainable Development The Brundtland Commission’s definition of sustainable development from 1987 is the most commonly accepted definition of the concept and defines it as the development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (link). Short Video: What is Sustainability 4
  • 5. Definitions of Sustainability and Sustainable Development (II/II) Although in certain cases these two concepts are used interchangeably, it is important to understand what distinguishes them. “Sustainability is often thought of as a long-term goal (i.e. a more sustainable world), while sustainable development refers to the many processes and pathways to achieve it (e.g. sustainable agriculture and forestry, sustainable production and consumption, good government, research and technology transfer, education and training, etc.)” (UNESCO, link). Short Read: Sustainability and Sustainable Development - What is Sustainability and What is Sustainable Development? 5
  • 6. Interlinkages between AI and Sustainable Development (I/II) From a global perspective, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already part of our reality. AI methods and tools such as machine learning, artificial neural networks and deep learning are affecting the way we produce and buy goods, the way we learn, the way we perceive reality, the way we live. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also known as the Global Goals. In 2015 the United Nations (UN) made a call “ to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity” through the adoption of the goals (UN SDG, link). There are 17 SDGs that cover different areas of action and that are interconnected to achieve a balance between social, economic and environmental sustainability. The 17 SDGs are defined in a list of 169 SDG targets and their progress can be tracked by 232 unique indicators (link). 6
  • 7. UN Sustainable Development Goals (Picture source: SDG tracker, link)
  • 8. Interlinkages between AI and Sustainable Development (II/II) Researchers around the world are studying the effect of AI on every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and, although it is not a simple task to achieve in short time, there are already insightful results that help us visualize the future of AI and Sustainability. Ricardo Vinuesa et al. performed a literature search to prove the identified connections between AI tools and techniques and the targets aiming to answer the question “Is there published evidence of AI acting as an enabler or an inhibitor for this particular target?”. The study divided the SDGs into three categories: Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainability to analyse the interlinkage proposed. The research showed that AI can act as an enabler on 134 targets across all the DGDs while impacting negatively 59 targets. The next slide provides a graphic summary of the results found. Short Read: The role of artificial intelligence in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 8
  • 9. (Picture source: Nature Communications, link)
  • 10. AI For Good In this short video, AI experts share their insights about how this technology can help achieving SDGs. Short Video: AI For Good - SDGs
  • 11. Applications of AI into sustainability fields We have discussed how AI can help achieving SDGs which are not only focused in environmental, but also economic and social sustainability. In the next slides examples of AI applications into sustainability field are presented. (Picture source: Research gate, link)
  • 12. AI in Smart Buildings for Energy Efficiency Internet of Things (IoT) enables to connect building operations like monitoring spaces temperature, safety devices such as smoke detection sensors and fire alarms. It facilitates maintenance by tracking the state of the systems, equipment and devices, via mobile devices and computers also used to control them. When the users are able to monitor and control building systems like heating, cooling or ventilation, the reduction of energy use becomes an easier task and it contributes to a significant reduction of GHG emissions that are a major concern to combat climate change. 12 Suggested Read: The Role of Machine Learning and the Internet of Things in Smart Buildings for Energy Efficiency
  • 13. AI in Smart Cities for Smart Decision-Making Smart Cities aim to achieve environmental and economic development, and improve society’s living standards by utilizing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and AI. The collection of data from sensors help improving urban safety governance, so was the case when the South-Korean Government used AI to combat COVID-19 epidemic with the encouragement of information exchange with their citizens that helped them to understand the issue, and eventually contributed to better implement safety protocols. Suggested Read: Use of Artificial Intelligence in Smart Cities for Smart Decision-Making: A Social Innovation Perspective (Picture source: BMC, link)
  • 14. AI in Smart Cities for Trade opportunities AI is capable to influence every aspect of society, including commerce and trade, that affects also the type of jobs and skills needed to be competitive in the global market. Joshua Meltzer made an insightful analysis on how AI influence trade market: if productivity growth rises due to AI, firm competitiveness will rise with it, creating new opportunities for international trade. This means that if the value of services in economic growth increases, the share of services in international trade should expand. Short Read: Maximizing AI’s economic, social, and trade opportunities (Picture source: Pleaders, link) Suggested Video: Smart City: How Amsterdam Revolutionizes Energy
  • 15. AI for protection of drinking water Microsoft AI Lab projects developed a system to detect dangerous bacteria and harmful particles in water using deep learning neural network, called “Clean Water AI”. The tool is an IoT device that uses high definition cameras to detect and classify the bacteria and harmful particles, and it can run continuously in real time. The IoT devices can be installed in water sources wherever needed in the Cities that help avoiding significant health issues of their citizens caused by the polluted water. Short Read: Clean Water AI by Microsoft AI Lab Project (Picture source: Jetson Clean Water, link)
  • 16. UN Cooperation Network: AI4SDG As previously analysed, AI is expected to be used to monitor the progress of SDGs activities, to simulate their applications and impact, to predict outcomes as well to help policy makers to act based on large amounts of available data. The United Nations (UN) has developed a cooperation network “to promote the positive use of AI for Sustainable Development, and to investigate the negative impact of AI on Sustainable Development”, AI4SDGs. The network collects AI projects and proposals that are classified according to how they impact a specific goal, as the examples presented in the next two slides. Short Read: AI for Sustainable Development Goals (AI4SDGs) Think Tank 16
  • 17. (Picture source: AI4SDGs Cooperation Network, link)
  • 19. (Picture source: AI4SDGs Cooperation Network, link)
  • 20. Suggested Video: #AI4SDG 10: Podcast with Brian Patrick Green by Jiaqian Wang, AI Policy
  • 21. REFERENCES Definition of Sustainability. Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/sustainability UCLA, What is Sustainability? YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx04Kl8y4dE Circular Ecology - Sustainability and Sustainable Development - What is Sustainability and What is Sustainable Development?. Available at: https://circularecology.com/sustainability-and-sustainable-development.html United Nations - What are the Sustainable Development Goals? Available at https://www.undp.org/sustainable-development- goals#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20Sustainable%20Development,people%20enjoy%20peace%20and%20prosperity. SDG Indicators - Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Available at https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/Global%20Indicator%20Framework%20after%20refinement_Eng.pdf SDG tracker - Measuring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Available at https://sdg-tracker.org/ Vinuesa, R., Azizpour, H., Leite, I. et al. The role of artificial intelligence in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Nat Commun 11, 233 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14108-y AI For Good - SDG. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bpuoj1Op1kY Shah, Syed Faisal Abbas, Muhammad Iqbal, Zeeshan Aziz, Toqir A. Rana, Adnan Khalid, Yu-N Cheah, and Muhammad Arif. 2022. "The Role of Machine Learning and the Internet of Things in Smart Buildings for Energy Efficiency" Applied Sciences 12, no. 15: 7882. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12157882 Smart Buildings and the Internet of Things. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOC8dnqAHJw 21
  • 22. REFERENCES Bokhari, Syed Asad A., and Seunghwan Myeong. 2022. "Use of Artificial Intelligence in Smart Cities for Smart Decision-Making: A Social Innovation Perspective" Sustainability 14, no. 2: 620. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020620 Maximizing AI’s economic, social, and trade opportunities, Joshua P. Meltzer. Available at https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up- front/2019/05/13/maximizing-ais-economic-social-and-trade-opportunities/ AI Lab Project by Microsoft: Clean Water AI. Available at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ai/ai-lab-clean-water AI for Sustainable Development Goals (AI4SDGs) Think Tank. Available at https://ai-for-sdgs.academy/ #AI4SDG 10: Podcast with Brian Patrick Green by Jiaqian Wang, AI Policy Labs. YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aigHZa2QfDk 22
  • 23. End of Section 2. 23