Artificial Intelligence (AI) has rapidly expanded in recent years, becoming both more sophisticated and more prolific as legal and regulatory frameworks struggle to keep up. While the rise of AI has garnered much attention, the environmental implications are often overlooked, both by those who use AI systems and by those who are tasked with regulating them. But as AI grows, so too do its environmental impacts.
Across sectors, AI holds immense promise for environmental protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation; for example, algorithms can help reduce pesticide use through precision agriculture, increase the efficiency of the energy grid, and much more. At the same time, without proper controls, AI has the potential for environmental harm. Algorithms can be of course used to accelerate unsustainable resource practices just as readily as sustainable ones. Harder to predict – but often no less damaging – are the “mistakes” that can result even when programmers have the best of intentions, environmentally and otherwise. And then there are the significant energy demands associated with the data processing needed to support expanding AI applications.
Like the technology itself, AI’s effects on the environment are both widespread and quite complicated. What promise does AI truly hold for environmental protection? What concerns does it raise? And perhaps most importantly, what governance mechanisms are needed to ensure that we harness the opportunity while mitigating harm?
Join our expert panelists as they dive into these questions and more, exploring the future of AI and environmental regulation.
Andrew Tutt, Senior Associate, Arnold & Porter
Priya Donti, Co-founder and Chair, Climate Change AI
Emma Strubell, Assistant Professor, Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
Aidan O’Sullivan, Associate Professor, Energy Institute, University College London