Artificial intelligence is an adaptable technology capable of many different functions. It seems like an inherently helpful tool, whether we’re looking at its role in decision-making, research or planning. At worst, AI takes the form of an evil robot intent on destruction, bad for humans but great for ticket sales.
The movies make it seem like AI is only threatening when it has a mind of its own, but this technology has negative consequences that aren’t as obvious. The relationship between artificial intelligence and the environment is an example of how these systems have their share of risks beyond their benefits.
That’s not to say that artificial intelligence doesn’t have value for environmental organizations. It has a variety of advantages for conservation efforts, such as aiding in the assessment of animal populations and identifying trafficked wildlife. AI also enables companies to reduce their energy consumption.
In short, artificial intelligence is a useful technology that has made the world a better place to live. However, these same systems that have improved the planet have also damaged it. AI represents an incredible step forward, but that progress has come at a cost that is just as crucial to acknowledge.