February 2, 2020
The recent issues of Australian and Amazon wildfires have raised a burning question – the technology that has been a major facilitator to human evolution and growth, could it not do anything to predict, manage or control such destruction? Its high time that technologies like AI, data science and 5G connectivity should take charge of climatic advancement as well.
The latest development in these technologies has shown some significant traits that can work for the betterment of the environment. Let’s see how they can serve nature and climate.
As noted by a report, the problem with climate change is that time is not on the side of humans — mankind has to find and implement some solutions relatively fast. That’s where AI could help. To date, there are two different approaches to AI: rules-based and learning-based. Both AI approaches have valid use cases when it comes to studying the environment and solving climate change. Rules-based AI is coded algorithms of if-then statements that are basically meant to solve simple problems. When it comes to the climate, a rules-based AI could be useful in helping scientists crunch numbers or compile data, saving humans a lot of time in manual labor. But a rules-based AI can only do so much. It has no memory capabilities — it’s focused on providing a solution to a problem that’s defined by a human. That’s why learning-based AI was created.
Moreover, learning-based AI is more advanced than rules-based AI because it diagnoses problems by interacting with the problem. Basically, learning-based AI has the capacity for memory, whereas rules-based AI does not.
When it comes to helping solve climate change, a learning-based AI could essentially do more than just crunch CO2 emission numbers. A learning-based AI could actually record those numbers, study causes, and solutions, and then recommend the best solution — in theory.
According to Huawei, 5G networks can play an important role in mitigating climate change. At an event, Dr. Hui Cao, Head of Strategy and Policy, Huawei EU, underlined that “climate change is here, and we cannot afford to ignore it. Just like digital, green is a horizontal aspect of policy and business.”
Stressing that a facts-based approach would be key when measuring the impact of new technologies such as 5G, Dr. Cao pointed out that 5G consumed less energy than 4G. “5G power consumption per bit is a mere 10% of 4G. In other words, 90% of power is saved per bit,” he said.
The company in one of its 2018 reports stated four strategies for sustainability: digital inclusion; security and trustworthiness; environmental protection, and; a healthy, harmonious ecosystem. Over the past years, Huawei has been working to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), build a sustainable and more inclusive ecosystem with its industry partners, and execute its own sustainability strategies.
Yingying Li, Head of Comms, Western Europe, Huawei, underlined that environmental protection was a key component in Huawei’s sustainable development initiatives: “Energy efficiency has become a major consideration for future communications networks. We have to use less energy to transmit more data while reducing the overall energy consumption of power systems. ICT technologies can help.”
Furthermore, as noted by Towards Data Science, data science is going to play a big role in this huge battle. Finding new patterns in the data is a clear path to obtaining powerful solutions for this energy-hungry world.
Looking at data and finding patterns can dramatically help in finding often out-of-the-box solutions in every field, including Energy Efficiency.
Moreover, the cause of this huge energy usage is the need to keep the center at a certain temperature, avoiding overheating and breakdowns of the electronic components. As a consequence, if no clean energy is used to operate a data center, it can have a major effect on CO2 emissions. And let’s not forget about the cost of operating these places.
That’s why Deepmind (an artificial intelligence company acquired by Google) in 2016 succeeded in lowering energy consumption in a Google data center by 40%.
Also, several data-driven solutions are being tested to help lower greenhouse gas emissions and guide us to a completely renewable future. And many more are being studied right now.
Data Science has the ability to contribute to this battle and knowing how much it can do, it absolutely should.
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