AI, NLG, and Machine Learning, Bots for Business
How Artificial Intelligence Will Help Humanity Survive
In 2020, the Global Footprint Network predicted that the Earth Overshoot Day would fall sometime in August. From that day on, on average, we will have consumed all the renewable resources available, including clean air and water. We will have irremediably depleted our forests, soils, natural minerals, and almost all of our natural resources from […]
By Denis Rothman
July 1, 2021
In 2020, the Global Footprint Network predicted that the Earth Overshoot Day would fall sometime in August. From that day on, on average, we will have consumed all the renewable resources available, including clean air and water. We will have irremediably depleted our forests, soils, natural minerals, and almost all of our natural resources from August on. Switzerland even reached its local Overshoot Day as early as May 11, 2021. However, with better use of our resources, there is hope. The arrival of new technologies driven by artificial intelligence provides the tools to reconcile human activity and nature.
Global ecosystems produce and deliver products and services in volumes never experienced before. In 2021, the world’s population will grow, pandemic or not, from about 7.8 billion to over 7.9 billion. At the same, process automation and optimization have progressed enough to help humanity survive.
The positive impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The First Industrial Revolution brought machinery. The Second Industrial Revolution improved machinery and our lives with electricity, cars, airplanes, and telephones. The digital Third Industrial Revolution brought us together at the end of the twentieth century with the internet, smartphones, and cloud platforms.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution began in Germany in 2011 with the idea of connecting everything to everything with the Internet of Things (IoT), bots working with robots, and artificial intelligence-driven (AI-driven) processes.
Moderna’s white paper, Building the Digital Biotech Company, describes how messenger RNA (mRNA) innovations rely heavily on automation, robotics, cloud platforms, and artificial intelligence. Moderna explains that without the power of these intelligence automated systems, the mRNA approach would be impossible. The physical connectivity between robots, bots, and humans of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has improved our lives.
The mRNA vaccines were developed, produced, and delivered within a year, saving hundreds of millions of lives worldwide. Pfizer and others as well have implemented AI for drug discovery. Moderna’s Personalized Cancer Vaccines unit might soon produce personalized mRNA-based vaccines against cancer for all types of patients.
Sustainable, ethical, and profitable AI
Delivering vaccines, medical equipment, food, clothing, cars, and natural resources for billions of people requires millions of micro-processes. A container filled with critical products, such as oxygen, masks, and other hospital equipment, goes from continent to continent. Intermodal transportation systems manage a container as it goes by truck to a harbor, travels the seas in a ship, lands in another port, and reaches a warehouse by truck again.
The evolution of intermodal transportation from processes to AI-driven intermodal transportation networks will tremendously reduce carbon emissions. For example, a truck in Europe can produce 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer traveling from factories to a warehouse and from the warehouse to local delivery locations. A large Amazon warehouse will generate millions of kilometers of truck transportation per year.
Amazon and other e-commerce warehouses often go through a location optimization process that usually involves artificial intelligence. A game theory AI-driven algorithm will take all of the past deliveries into account, make transportation predictions, and determine the best location for a warehouse.
In turn, an optimized location can save up to one million kilometers a year, which can represent fifty million grams or fifty thousand tons of CO2 emissions. Amazon and many other advanced warehouse experts are tremendously reducing carbon emissions through expanding the volume of deliveries. The international carbon pricing agreements are now moving toward about $100 a ton. Thus, the AI-driven optimization can generate €5 million of carbon emission savings.
Green warehouses will encourage other sustainable projects.
AI-driven grouped customer deliveries optimize the distance it takes for consumers to obtain a product. One delivery truck delivers products to many customers in one route from an optimized warehouse location. That one route would be multiplied by hundreds of extra distances if each customer had to drive to individual unoptimized shops to pick up products.
Artificial intelligence will progressively optimize every aspect of the supply chain from production to customer delivery. In the years to come, billions of nautical and land miles will be saved.
Artificial intelligence is already being implemented in Tesla and other electric cars. AI-driven IoT will manage cargo ships using hydrogen, windmills, and solar panels to optimize energy consumption.
The volume of microdecisions requires AI
The Fourth Industrial Revolution provides automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence to optimize human activity and reduce resource consumption. Millions of microdecisions will drive billions of processes. The number of decisions exceeds the number of humans that would be required to make them. Only AI-driven automation can face this volume of data to process.
Far from replacing humans, AI will manage the number of tasks that humans cannot possibly face. Humans will learn how to use AI as a tool in a collaborative environment.
If we unpack a microdecision and look inside, we will most likely find a cloud platform, robots, and AI-driven automation. For example, windmills produce electricity with wind. The United States, Europe, and China now produce more than half a million megawatts of electricity per year. Machine learning makes wind speed forecasts and optimizes the use of windmill turbines.
Each windmill requires turbine and blade maintenance. Drones use AI computer vision with deep learning programs to detect flaws on the blades to determine the required level of maintenance. AI-packed sensors detect faulty turbines and classify the type of repair required.
The sustainable electricity produced has increasingly begun to flow through smart grids, which optimize the distribution to houses, factories, and public lighting. Artificial intelligence can calculate optimal transport routes, reducing energy waste.
A world of distributed intelligence
In a home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and other smart devices will continue to expand, connecting to house lighting. For example, advanced AI sensors will determine the best time to turn the lights on and off, reducing energy consumption.
Local AI-driven smart grids will optimize the distribution of clean water, food, and natural resources and the recycling of waste. The world will become greener again.
The future of human-nature ecosystems relies on a bottom-to-top organization of society. Every person, house, block, city, and region is becoming a proactive actor of a new paradigm. We will become an eco-responsible society in which each individual and machine participates in optimizing natural and human resources.
From wind forecasts to local electricity usage, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will connect everything to everything—food production to delivery and car production to garages—and everything will be connected and managed by AI-driven bots. AI will locally optimize the billions of processes that will reduce global resource consumption. Humanity will progressively gain control and evolve toward sustainable activities.
The transition from an unoptimized global economy to a sustainable eco-responsible society requires patience, effort, and goodwill. It’s the only way to avoid climate-change disasters and the total depletion of our planet’s natural resources.
Global endeavors are pointing in the right direction. The Plant for the Planet organization has initiated the One Trillion Trees campaign. The regeneration of our natural resources has become the goal of many international actions, such as regenerative agriculture.
We can all make the first steps today, locally, in a bottom-to-top common approach.
Our world has begun its long, bumpy, but constructive journey toward sustainable AI-driven human activity.