AI has pivotal role in confronting climate change: Experts to WAM

ABU DHABI, 19th October, 2023 (WAM) -- As the UAE is preparing to host the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP28), there is growing discussion about the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in providing innovative solutions to address environmental challenges and footprint across various industries.

In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), experts and technology specialists highlighted that AI capabilities go beyond specific sectors and encompass all economic sectors. This is particularly crucial as climate change and environmental degradation are among the most pressing challenges faced by humanity, affecting a wide range of industries.

They explained that AI's potential impact extends to various areas, including energy, water, transportation, agriculture, industry, and supply chains.

Sultan Al Hajji, Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations at the Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence, discussed how AI enhances the precision of simulating reality, enabling swift and efficient resolution of environmental issues and challenges. He pointed out that technology can identify resource wastage, inefficiencies, and strategies to reduce energy consumption and provide proactive solutions for various challenges.

Karl Crowther, Regional Vice President of Middle East and Africa of Alteryx, said that companies not harnessing the value of data and integrating insights into sustainability, environmental governance, and corporate governance may miss significant market opportunities. He highlighted that the decentralised nature of data, its diverse forms, and integration complexities necessitates accessible analytics and real-time insights for experts.

"Data-driven technology narrows the gap, facilitates informed decision-making, enhances energy efficiency, and identifies waste reduction opportunities, making it a vital tool for addressing current and future energy challenges," he explained.

Taylor Smith, Vice President and General Manager of Voice Automation in Honeywell's Productivity Solutions and Services Business, noted that AI can ensure energy efficiency, saying that predictive maintenance algorithms, lighting control tools, and climate control systems contribute to reducing energy consumption.

Mohamed Zouari, General Manager—Middle East, Türkiye, and Africa at Snowflake, reiterated the importance of AI in advancing sustainability goals across various sectors, explaining that harnessing the benefits of AI for sustainability requires organisations and companies to establish a fundamental data strategy across all levels before adopting AI technologies. This approach allows organisations to collect data from various departments and third-party institutions into a unified source, eliminating data centralisation.

Rami Kichli, Senior Vice-President of Middle East & Turkey at SoftwareAG, stressed that environmental protection is no longer a single entity's responsibility but humanity as a whole, noting that technology plays a crucial role in finding solutions that create more sustainable and environmentally friendly business environments and companies. He highlighted that technology's impact on an organisation's sustainability journey begins with planning and extends to adopting technologies that reduce waste, whether in energy consumption or the use of materials in various industries, as well as overseeing plan execution and technologies.

Kashli also mentioned their collaboration with various government entities to reduce paper usage, noting that the technology that has contributed to achieving this goal has led to paper savings and facilitated transaction processing through intelligent technology systems, reducing the need for personal presence and energy consumption.

AI has been used to develop various sectors. In transportation, self-driving cars using clean energy have become one solution; in the industrial sector, AI can reduce waste, control production processes, and monitor emissions. Similarly, in construction and real estate, the creation of smart and sustainable residential communities and cities is now within reach, thanks to AI.