Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI
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Artificial Intelligence – Ally or adversary in the fight against climate change?

AI can make an essential contribution to the fight against climate change. At the same time, the application and energy consumption of AI systems continues to rise. How do these two concepts fit together? In a new episode of the science podcast "Neuland," AI experts Professor Ralf Herbrich, managing director of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) and head of the "AI and Sustainability" research group at HPI, and Professor Robert Williamson, professor for "Foundations of Machine Learning Systems" at Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, talk about how AI can be used in the fight against climate change and how AI can become more energy efficient.

HPI-Wissenspodcast "Neuland"
Prof. Dr. Ralf Herbrich
Prof. Dr. Ralf Herbrich

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already being used in many areas of the economy and society, whether in automotive engineering, retail, web navigation or road traffic. Data centres are among the major energy consumers accounting for about 4 per cent of global energy consumption. Training AI models is a relevant factor here because the more powerful AI systems become, the more energy they require for their complex calculations. These are predictive calculations that are needed for decision-making in real-world applications. If we add to that the use of digital technologies such as laptops or smartphones, this accounts for nearly 8% of energy consumption. "And that number is not going to go down. Our daily lives are becoming more convenient, and our industries are becoming more efficient and productive through the use of such technologies," says Herbrich.

Prof. Dr. Robert C. Williamson
Prof. Dr. Robert C. Williamson

At the same time, AI systems have great potential to aid us in achieving climate goals. Artificial intelligence is already being used to make households more energy efficient through smart light switches and intelligent thermostats. AI has also been used to make progress in transportation in terms of safety and handling. The use of AI in solar energy storage is also conceivable. "You could name 10-20 other areas where AI technology can be used. Which one ends up being the most important one you’ll only know when you’ve tried it out. (...) There will be solutions, we just don't know what they look like yet," Williamson says.

The full episode with more insights into AI, energy efficiency and fairness can be listened to here: http://podcast.hpi.de/65-ai-and-energy

Profound knowledge about the digital world explained in a clearly and understandably way – that’s what the science podcast "Neuland" with experts from the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) offers at: https://podcast.hpi.de, on iTunes and Spotify. Once a month on Neuland, they talk about current and socially relevant digital topics, their research work, and the opportunities and challenges of digital trends and developments.