Artificial Intelligence for Sustainability was hosted by 180 DC Lund on the 14th of January, 2021. This post will address the major highlights of the lecture given by Paolo Nardi Fernandez.
About the Guest Speaker
.Paolo Nardi Fernandez is a Sustainable AI &IT Consultant and Co-founder of the SustainME Podcast. The Podcast is about sustainability and how to deal with the pandemic in sustaining the environment. He is a Guest Lecturer and Student Assistant at Malmo University. He is a member of the Global Shapers Community, a community of young people driving dialogue, action and change. He graduated from Masters of Leadership for Sustainability last year from Malmo University.
AI FOR SUSTAINABILITY: TRANSITION DESIGN AS A TOOL TO CREATE SYSTEMIC CHANGES
Starting the lecture, Paolo asked the audience 3 major questions which are:
(1) How is artificial intelligence and new technologies affecting your daily lives? Is it making you grow, more connected, happy? And most importantly, who is accountable for this?
(2) What role will humanity play in the future as machines become more intelligent?
(3)How can we ensure that AI is developed to enable a sustainable and inclusive world? Are these technologies developed to give us a sustainable world?
These questions are very important because they bring to our attention what seems trivial to us, it addresses our relationship with technologies and artificial intelligence. When we think about sustainability, we often refer to 3 Ps, that is, the People, Planet, and Profit. It is a constant part of our life which we need to live in harmony with meaning that we should have a constant relationship with the people, planet, economy and resources.
We are no longer analogue beings, we are digital beings, we are in constant relationship with new technology and machines thus we need a deep understanding of the role technology has in our lives and the relationship we want to have with them and how we want to use them. All these are crucial and important. Being able to do all this, we will not only create a viable, equitable and bearable future but also one that is manageable and measurable.
When it comes to AI, a lot of people might view it as a radical innovation which is to come in the future, however, factually speaking, AI is already here. Though it is not super intelligent yet because it doesn’t have the capacity to understand the world as humans do, the changing of habits and the way we make decisions in the world. Examples are Robots that create some sort of entertainment and AlphaFold that performs predictions of protein structure.
There is also the ethical dimension of AI as it is expected to be in the following:
AI is one of the tools we can effectively use to create a better sustainable environment and it is important we make good use of these tools now that they are here. It is also important that we not just keep developing the technology but also deeply contemplate the ways it can help us become better human beings. Without this, only a few will benefit from its existence. To do this, it is important we face our current problems and come together and discuss what is needed of us to transition to a sustainable and inclusive world.
This is a short excerpt and teaching from Paolo’s Masters thesis, the thesis is published on the Malmo University portal and the title is ‘Transition towards AI for Sustainability, possibilities and challenges of transition design framework in the AI Industry’. Click here to access the thesis.
Master student in Media and Communication at Lund University. The author holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication Studies from the University of Ilorin. Titilope is an Editorial Director at 180 Degrees Consulting Lund.