Many in the climate and sustainability community are concerned about the impact of the AI ​​revolution on global warming issues. These concerns are understandable. Artificial intelligence enables great work and creative tools, but it also comes at a higher cost in energy consumption, as AI models require more data centers, power, and cooling infrastructure to run. Energy consumption from AI is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 30% by 2028 and could exceed the total electricity consumption of Iceland.

Another concern is the potential for misuse of AI capabilities from an environmental perspective. Artificial intelligence can increase consumer spending and help fossil fuel companies increase production by powering targeted advertising. Like any technology, artificial intelligence can be harmful.

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Ron Stern Ron Stern

Ron Stern General Partner, Head of Portfolio Management, OurCrowd

(Credit: Avi Dodi)

The climate community believes that the answers to the climate crisis will come from deep technology solutions based on physics, chemistry, biology and hardware, backed by huge capital investments, but not AI-based optimization. is recognized as a nice-to-have addition.

However, I see a more complex situation in which AI will play a key role in solving environmental problems. This is due to accelerated technological development in several areas. First, the availability of artificial intelligence models and cloud computing infrastructure has increased dramatically. Second, the distribution of networked “smart” edge devices has expanded across a variety of industries. Faster and cheaper computing capabilities at the edge (edge ​​computing) enabled by advanced chips are now more widely available. Third, access to large databases is increasing in many areas, such as satellite imagery (which has improved resolution and reduced cost) and open-source weather data.

Together, these technologies can significantly reduce deployment time and costs and accelerate the adoption of new solutions. Let's look at some examples of how AI can help solve environmental problems.

In the agtech space, more companies are adopting artificial intelligence models that integrate different layers of information such as satellite imagery, weather data, and various sensors, giving farmers insights into improving efficiency and adopting environmentally friendly practices. It offers. AI can also significantly reduce water and pesticide use while increasing crop yields.

Artificial intelligence algorithms will also be used to monitor entire water and wastewater networks, detect pipeline failures, and track pollution events in real time. These capabilities are supported by a growing network of smart devices connected to central systems, saving millions of cubic meters of water annually and maintaining the quality of wastewater treatment, while reducing energy and repair costs. and help prevent emergencies.

The combination of AI and chemistry and nanotechnology can also be used to fix carbon dioxide. This application helps restore living areas, increase biodiversity, and even make toxic water safe to drink. AI models can be fed with external data such as satellite imagery, weather data, and geological information to provide insights about water bodies, descriptions and estimated costs of treatments needed to restore them, and the amount of carbon dioxide. It may be captured.

In summary, as with any technology, the key question with AI is how it is used. The increase in the number of data sources and overall processing power opens the door to the use of AI in the world of climate and sustainability, helping to conserve water, prevent pollution, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. AI can make a significant contribution to If stakeholders from the public sector, technology community, and investment community work together, Israel can play a central role in this technological revolution.

The author is a general partner and head of portfolio management at OurCrowd, an online global venture investment platform that has invested more than $250 million in 46 sustainability companies.

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