AI and Environmental Sustainability: How to Govern an Ambivalent Relationship

Handbook on Public Policy and Artificial Intelligence edited by Regine Paul, Emma Carmel and Jennifer Cobbe, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Forthcoming

16 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2024

Date Written: October 14, 2023

Abstract

While AITs hold promise in optimizing supply chains, circular economies, and renewable energy, they also contribute to significant environmental costs, often overlooked in the policy debate. The concept of "digital pollution" emphasizes the physical and ecological impacts of AI infrastructures, data storage, resource consumption, and toxic emissions.

The chapter underscores the limitations of conventional cost-benefit analyses in assessing AI's environmental effects and calls for a more value-based and political approach. It emphasizes the need to transparently evaluate who benefits from or is harmed by AI's environmental impact and allocate responsibilities accordingly. It concludes that while AI can contribute to sustainable development, its environmental costs and impacts must be addressed. It argues for a global governance project that considers a multitude of values, stakeholders, and regulatory mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of AI technologies, in contrast to the current fragmented and often market-driven approaches. Critical reflections on these issues are essential for guiding this global governance project effectively.

Keywords: Ethics, digital pollution, environmental sustainability, Cost-benefit Analsysis, a separated]

Suggested Citation

Lucivero, Federica, AI and Environmental Sustainability: How to Govern an Ambivalent Relationship (October 14, 2023). Handbook on Public Policy and Artificial Intelligence edited by Regine Paul, Emma Carmel and Jennifer Cobbe, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4726427 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4726427

Federica Lucivero (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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