It seems Google's 'don't be evil' corporate motto has been upheld with its latest use of AI (Artificial Intelligence). Unless of course you are a union representing facilities management technicians, then you might have reason to disagree.
It seems that every week there is a story about a new use for AI. A number of concerns have been legitimately raised regarding the use of AI, ranging from genuine moral and ethical concerns through to people who have probably watched one too many sci-fi movies.
This is not an appropriate fora to engage in a lengthy debate regarding the ethics of AI, so I was glad to see that Google's latest foray into AI was basically a ‘gimme’ as it is actually helping to save the planet. Short of developing an AI robot that could simultaneously save a child, while kissing a baby and rescuing a kitten from a tree this is probably a hard one to beat.
A couple of years ago Google bought a UK company which specialises in machine learning, advanced algorithms and systems neuroscience. Since then Google has deployed AI to control its data centres and found that the AI algorithms were able to adjust the environmental conditions of its data centres more effectively and efficiently than its human technicians. This has led to energy savings of 15%.
While undoubtedly providing a huge cost saving for Google, and therefore contributing to its bottom line, it also dovetails nicely in with its corporate motto. The servers and data centres powering web related activity, and Google has quite a few, are estimated to contribute around 2% to global greenhouse gas emissions, so a reduction in energy consumption translates into a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Given it looks like 2016 will be the hottest year on record globally (the previous record was set only last year) every little bit helps.
All this and not a murderous robot in sight, well done Google.
Google says it has cut its vast data centres’ energy use by 15% by applying artificial intelligence to manage them more efficiently than humans. The servers that power billions of web searches, streamed films and social media accounts are estimated to account for approximately 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Google is believed to have one of the biggest fleets of them in the world. On Wednesday, Google said it had proved it could cut total energy use at its data centres by 15% by deploying machine learning from DeepMind, the British AI company it bought in 2014 for about £400m. Such centres require significant energy for cooling, as well as constant adjustments to air temperature, pressure and humidity, to run as efficiently as possible.