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AI championed as key to a sustainable future

Using AI to solve many of the world's environmental problems can have a positive impact on the economy too

Research by PwC, commissioned by Microsoft has heralded AI as the answer to a sustainable future.

The firm says that using AI to manage agriculture, water, energy and transport can have a significant impact on the economy predicting it'll contribute up to $5.2 trillion to the global economy in 2030 - an increase of 4.4% compared to not using the tech.

AI could also have a more direct impact on the environment, potentially reducing worldwide greenhouse emissions by 4% by 2030. Split down into geographic regions, this could mean emission savings of up to 4.8% for Eastern Asia, and 6.1% for the US.

Proposed uses of AI in the sustainability world include analysing satellite data and ground data to uncover forest conditions in order to mitigate the impact of illegal deforestation and air pollution monitoring.

If AI was used better in the energy and travel sectors, it could cut greenhouse emissions by 2.2% and 1.7% respectively.

Added to those two pretty impressive stats, using AI to change the way we consider the environment could have an equally impressive impact on the skills economy, generating 38.2 million net new jobs across the world in the next 20 years.

Off the back of the research, PwC and Microsoft have urged businesses to develop AI applications that can be used to tackle some of the most serious environmental issues we are experiencing today.

"Put simply, AI can enable our future systems to be more productive for the economy and for nature," said Celine Herweijer, global innovation and sustainability leader at PwC UK.

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