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TOO4TO MODULE
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Sustainability
SECTION 3
2
Part 3
Future predictions, consequences and development of AI in Sustainable Development analytical and
decision support field
Learning objectives of part 3:
• To analyse potential negative impacts of AI applications on the environment and society
• To discuss the possible future applications of AI techniques
3
How researchers imagine AI will be in 10 years?
In the last video seen in section 2, Brian Patrick
Green expressed his opinion about the influence
of AI on SDG 10 (Reduce inequality), on both
negative and positive aspects that this technology
brings to the goal.
Here, “Top experts from The University of
Queensland (UQ) Business School’s Research
Hubs take a futuristic focus to identify how key AI
trends and current research can help predict what
the world might look like in 2031” (A day in 2031
with AI, link).
4
Environmental Impacts of AI Solutions
AI techniques commonly require large amount of data that need to be acquired, transferred, stored
and processed. To do so, large amount of energy is equally necessary to run the equipment
capable to fulfill the tasks. For example, a study conducted by Strubell et al. revealed that the
impact of Natural language processing (NLP) algorithms in the training phase release GHG
emissions equivalent to 300 flights between New York and San Francisco (link: Strubell et al.).
Elsabet Jones explains in her article that “the supercomputers used to run cutting-edge AI
programs are powered by the public electricity grid and supported by back-up diesel-powered
generators and that training a single AI system can emit over 110,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide”
(link). This level of emissions can be compared to the ones produced by the aviation industry.
5
What Are The Negative Impacts Of Artificial Intelligence
(AI) (I/II)
In this video, Bernard Marr (link) makes a
short but complete analysis of some of
the most concerning negative impacts
that AI can carry into our daily lives:
work, environmental impact, social
interaction, autonomous weapons,
automated hacking and terrorism (video
link).
6
What Are The Negative Impacts Of Artificial Intelligence
(AI) (II/II)
In this video, Peter Henderson (link)
discuss his insights on how developers
must track the use of energy in their
models and find ways to mitigate carbon
emissions. Peter is a PhD Candidate
(Computer Science) at Stanford
University, USA (link).
7
Social Impacts of AI Solutions (I/IV)
When AI techniques are applied to combat climate change or to increase energy efficiency the possibility of
the incurrence of severe ethical risks are fewer than when using them for social applications and solutions
such as health and criminal justice. For the previous two tasks, the use of personal data, human-facing
decisions and the and unbiased decision-making are fundamental to guarantee the fair treatment of every
person in society.
It is fundamental for the well-being of the humanity that the implementation of AI does not exacerbate social
and ethical challenges that are associated with cultural behaviour in many countries around the world and
that are also already linked to how AI is being developed and applied in our daily lives.
Suggested Read: What is the impact of AI on Society?
8
Social Impacts of AI Solutions (II/IV)
AI models are commonly supervised, that is
“trained” on existing labeled data from where they
learn how to cluster, classify, predict and make
predictions or take decisions. If most of that
training data are segmented to a certain
population or racial group or gender, the model
can introduce unwanted bias into the new
decision or prediction which consequently could
lead to discrimination and unfair treatment of
individuals or groups (Link: Strubell et al.).
Short video: Ethics & AI: Equal Access and
Algorithmic Bias
9
Short read: How to make algorithms work to avoid Bias
Social Impacts of AI Solutions (IV/V)
AI also impacts the way we work. Just as the
Industrial Revolution changed the way we
manufacture products, the introduction of robots
and AI have changed the way we work. Millions of
people have been replaced with machines and
computers, and some of their skilled have
become obsolete. It is necessary to pay close
attention to how combine AI and robots with
human labour to assure the dignity and respect of
those people.
Short video Ethics & AI: Privacy & the Future of
Work,
11
Social Impacts of AI Solutions (V/V)
In this video Frank Rudzicz, an AI researcher from
Toronto University, analyses what he considers
three main ethical concerns with AI:
1. What we actually use AI for?
2. Who has access to AI?
3. Uncertainty on how AI do things and the risk of
bias.
Short video: The three big ethical concerns with
artificial intelligence
Green AI
The concepts “Green AI” and “AI for Green” have emerged as a result of the increasing concern
about the impact that AI has on the environment.
“Green AI promotes a less energy- and resource-greedy artificial intelligence, with the goal of
reducing its own carbon impact. To achieve that objective, developers can adopt less-complex
models, limit the number of model trainings, or find a balance between technical performance and
energy consumption.
AI for Green defines artificial intelligence developed for sustainable purposes and for environmental
protection: optimizing car routes to reduce fuel consumption, predicting extreme climatic
phenomena and anticipating their impacts, etc.” (Source: link)
13
What is Green AI?
14
What’s the future of AI?
We have reviewed several examples of the positive and negative
impacts that AI has in our environment, society, and economy. AI
can help detect high levels of harmful substances in drinking
water and avoid diseases among the population, but it can only
do it by previously training a model that will use a large amount of
energy that translates into CO2 emissions into the environment.
It is a fact that we cannot turn around or slow down the use of AI
in our daily activities, so how can we can cope with a technology
that is advancing at a very fast pace? Are all human jobs
destined to disappear? Unfortunately, it is too soon to answer this
questions and to predict accurately the real impacts of AI, good
and bad so we need to “work aggressively to make sure
technology matches our values” and works towards humanity
well-being (Source: link). TedTalk: Preparing for a future with Artificial
Intelligence | Robin Winsor | TEDxYYC
REFERENCES
A day in 2031 with Artificial Intelligence, The University of Queensland (UQ). YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWV5Nkxgs2k&t=79s
D. Li, X. Chen, M. Becchi and Z. Zong, "Evaluating the Energy Efficiency of Deep Convolutional Neural Networks on CPUs and GPUs," 2016 IEEE
International Conferences on Big Data and Cloud Computing (BDCloud), Social Computing and Networking (SocialCom), Sustainable Computing and
Communications (SustainCom) (BDCloud-SocialCom-SustainCom), Atlanta, GA, USA, 2016, pp. 477-484, doi: https://doi.org/10.1109/BDCloud-
SocialCom-SustainCom.2016.76
Artificial Intelligence’s Environmental Costs and Promise, Blog post, Elsabet Jones, Baylee Easterday, Net Politics. Available at
https://www.cfr.org/blog/artificial-intelligences-environmental-costs-and-
promise#:~:text=Training%20a%20single%20AI%20system,comparable%20to%20the%20aviation%20industry
What Are The Negative Impacts Of Artificial Intelligence (AI)?. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6vwNM_ecFk&t=1s
Peter Henderson: Environmental Impact of AI (and What Developers Can Do). YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q78KYBps-zY
What is the impact of AI on society? Bernard Marr & Co. Available at https://bernardmarr.com/what-is-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-ai-on-
society/#:~:text=Artificial%20intelligence%20can%20dramatically%20improve,creativity%20and%20empathy%20among%20others.
Ethics & AI: Equal Access and Algorithmic Bias, Code.Org. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJQSyzBUAew
Research shows AI is often biased. Here's how to make algorithms work for all of us, World Economic Forum. Available at
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/07/ai-machine-learning-bias-discrimination/
Ethics & AI: Privacy & the Future of Work, Code.Org. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNxw5gJtHLc
The three big ethical concerns with artificial intelligence, MaRS Discovery District. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LyacmzB1Og
16
REFERENCES
Ethics, industrialization and security, Green AI: The 2022 Artificial Intelligence Trends, VivaTechnology. Available at
https://www.vivatechnology.com/news/ethics-industrialization-and-security-green-ai...-the-2022-artificial-intelligence-trends
Green AI, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnOpWgUCtaM
TedTalk: Preparing for a future with Artificial Intelligence, Robin Winsor. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7dhOHMX0js
17
End of Section 3.
18

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TOO4TO Module 7 / Artificial Intelligence and Sustainability: Part 3

  • 1.
  • 2. TOO4TO MODULE Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Sustainability SECTION 3 2
  • 3. Part 3 Future predictions, consequences and development of AI in Sustainable Development analytical and decision support field Learning objectives of part 3: • To analyse potential negative impacts of AI applications on the environment and society • To discuss the possible future applications of AI techniques 3
  • 4. How researchers imagine AI will be in 10 years? In the last video seen in section 2, Brian Patrick Green expressed his opinion about the influence of AI on SDG 10 (Reduce inequality), on both negative and positive aspects that this technology brings to the goal. Here, “Top experts from The University of Queensland (UQ) Business School’s Research Hubs take a futuristic focus to identify how key AI trends and current research can help predict what the world might look like in 2031” (A day in 2031 with AI, link). 4
  • 5. Environmental Impacts of AI Solutions AI techniques commonly require large amount of data that need to be acquired, transferred, stored and processed. To do so, large amount of energy is equally necessary to run the equipment capable to fulfill the tasks. For example, a study conducted by Strubell et al. revealed that the impact of Natural language processing (NLP) algorithms in the training phase release GHG emissions equivalent to 300 flights between New York and San Francisco (link: Strubell et al.). Elsabet Jones explains in her article that “the supercomputers used to run cutting-edge AI programs are powered by the public electricity grid and supported by back-up diesel-powered generators and that training a single AI system can emit over 110,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide” (link). This level of emissions can be compared to the ones produced by the aviation industry. 5
  • 6. What Are The Negative Impacts Of Artificial Intelligence (AI) (I/II) In this video, Bernard Marr (link) makes a short but complete analysis of some of the most concerning negative impacts that AI can carry into our daily lives: work, environmental impact, social interaction, autonomous weapons, automated hacking and terrorism (video link). 6
  • 7. What Are The Negative Impacts Of Artificial Intelligence (AI) (II/II) In this video, Peter Henderson (link) discuss his insights on how developers must track the use of energy in their models and find ways to mitigate carbon emissions. Peter is a PhD Candidate (Computer Science) at Stanford University, USA (link). 7
  • 8. Social Impacts of AI Solutions (I/IV) When AI techniques are applied to combat climate change or to increase energy efficiency the possibility of the incurrence of severe ethical risks are fewer than when using them for social applications and solutions such as health and criminal justice. For the previous two tasks, the use of personal data, human-facing decisions and the and unbiased decision-making are fundamental to guarantee the fair treatment of every person in society. It is fundamental for the well-being of the humanity that the implementation of AI does not exacerbate social and ethical challenges that are associated with cultural behaviour in many countries around the world and that are also already linked to how AI is being developed and applied in our daily lives. Suggested Read: What is the impact of AI on Society? 8
  • 9. Social Impacts of AI Solutions (II/IV) AI models are commonly supervised, that is “trained” on existing labeled data from where they learn how to cluster, classify, predict and make predictions or take decisions. If most of that training data are segmented to a certain population or racial group or gender, the model can introduce unwanted bias into the new decision or prediction which consequently could lead to discrimination and unfair treatment of individuals or groups (Link: Strubell et al.). Short video: Ethics & AI: Equal Access and Algorithmic Bias 9
  • 10. Short read: How to make algorithms work to avoid Bias
  • 11. Social Impacts of AI Solutions (IV/V) AI also impacts the way we work. Just as the Industrial Revolution changed the way we manufacture products, the introduction of robots and AI have changed the way we work. Millions of people have been replaced with machines and computers, and some of their skilled have become obsolete. It is necessary to pay close attention to how combine AI and robots with human labour to assure the dignity and respect of those people. Short video Ethics & AI: Privacy & the Future of Work, 11
  • 12. Social Impacts of AI Solutions (V/V) In this video Frank Rudzicz, an AI researcher from Toronto University, analyses what he considers three main ethical concerns with AI: 1. What we actually use AI for? 2. Who has access to AI? 3. Uncertainty on how AI do things and the risk of bias. Short video: The three big ethical concerns with artificial intelligence
  • 13. Green AI The concepts “Green AI” and “AI for Green” have emerged as a result of the increasing concern about the impact that AI has on the environment. “Green AI promotes a less energy- and resource-greedy artificial intelligence, with the goal of reducing its own carbon impact. To achieve that objective, developers can adopt less-complex models, limit the number of model trainings, or find a balance between technical performance and energy consumption. AI for Green defines artificial intelligence developed for sustainable purposes and for environmental protection: optimizing car routes to reduce fuel consumption, predicting extreme climatic phenomena and anticipating their impacts, etc.” (Source: link) 13
  • 14. What is Green AI? 14
  • 15. What’s the future of AI? We have reviewed several examples of the positive and negative impacts that AI has in our environment, society, and economy. AI can help detect high levels of harmful substances in drinking water and avoid diseases among the population, but it can only do it by previously training a model that will use a large amount of energy that translates into CO2 emissions into the environment. It is a fact that we cannot turn around or slow down the use of AI in our daily activities, so how can we can cope with a technology that is advancing at a very fast pace? Are all human jobs destined to disappear? Unfortunately, it is too soon to answer this questions and to predict accurately the real impacts of AI, good and bad so we need to “work aggressively to make sure technology matches our values” and works towards humanity well-being (Source: link). TedTalk: Preparing for a future with Artificial Intelligence | Robin Winsor | TEDxYYC
  • 16. REFERENCES A day in 2031 with Artificial Intelligence, The University of Queensland (UQ). YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWV5Nkxgs2k&t=79s D. Li, X. Chen, M. Becchi and Z. Zong, "Evaluating the Energy Efficiency of Deep Convolutional Neural Networks on CPUs and GPUs," 2016 IEEE International Conferences on Big Data and Cloud Computing (BDCloud), Social Computing and Networking (SocialCom), Sustainable Computing and Communications (SustainCom) (BDCloud-SocialCom-SustainCom), Atlanta, GA, USA, 2016, pp. 477-484, doi: https://doi.org/10.1109/BDCloud- SocialCom-SustainCom.2016.76 Artificial Intelligence’s Environmental Costs and Promise, Blog post, Elsabet Jones, Baylee Easterday, Net Politics. Available at https://www.cfr.org/blog/artificial-intelligences-environmental-costs-and- promise#:~:text=Training%20a%20single%20AI%20system,comparable%20to%20the%20aviation%20industry What Are The Negative Impacts Of Artificial Intelligence (AI)?. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6vwNM_ecFk&t=1s Peter Henderson: Environmental Impact of AI (and What Developers Can Do). YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q78KYBps-zY What is the impact of AI on society? Bernard Marr & Co. Available at https://bernardmarr.com/what-is-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-ai-on- society/#:~:text=Artificial%20intelligence%20can%20dramatically%20improve,creativity%20and%20empathy%20among%20others. Ethics & AI: Equal Access and Algorithmic Bias, Code.Org. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJQSyzBUAew Research shows AI is often biased. Here's how to make algorithms work for all of us, World Economic Forum. Available at https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/07/ai-machine-learning-bias-discrimination/ Ethics & AI: Privacy & the Future of Work, Code.Org. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNxw5gJtHLc The three big ethical concerns with artificial intelligence, MaRS Discovery District. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LyacmzB1Og 16
  • 17. REFERENCES Ethics, industrialization and security, Green AI: The 2022 Artificial Intelligence Trends, VivaTechnology. Available at https://www.vivatechnology.com/news/ethics-industrialization-and-security-green-ai...-the-2022-artificial-intelligence-trends Green AI, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnOpWgUCtaM TedTalk: Preparing for a future with Artificial Intelligence, Robin Winsor. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7dhOHMX0js 17
  • 18. End of Section 3. 18