Microsoft has made many moves centered around the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in the recent past. These include a partnership with General Assembly to curb the skills gap in AI, detailing of its innovations in AI to help the environment, and the release of a book that takes an in-depth look at the role of AI in manufacturing.
Now, the tech giant is once again highlighting the importance of AI, with the release of a new report in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), explaining how AI can help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and assist with an overall growth trend of gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide.
The applications of AI tech in four areas have been signified in the report, namely - agriculture, water, energy, and transport. If properly made use of, investment in these areas would help increase the global GDP by up to $5.2 trillion by 2030 - which amounts to roughly a 4.4% increase. Simultaneously, the report indicates that global GHG emissions may be reduced by up to 4% in the same timeframe.
Interestingly, about two years ago, PwC predicted that AI will contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Given the aforementioned statistics, it looks like the firm has slightly tempered its expectations regarding the growth.
Economic benefits are expected to be seen predominantly in Europe, East Asia, and North America, with each region seeing a bump of up to 5.4%, 5.1%, and 4.2% respectively. With regards to GHGs, the greatest fall is predicted for North America with a 6.1% decrease. The Sub-Saharan Africa region, meanwhile, would reportedly have only 0.2% less emissions in comparison. More detailed statistics can be viewed above.
Furthermore, it is also explained that regions with AI growth and adoption 'blockers' in place will see less of an economic growth. However, if progress is made to eliminate these blockers, noticeable change would emerge on the positive end.
The energy sector is expected to feature the highest increase in annual GDP contribution ($2.6tn) as well as the greatest decrease in annual GHG emissions among the four sectors. More information regarding each sector can be viewed in the following image.
Nearing the end of the report, Microsoft states that the aforementioned expectations are only possible if there is increased collaboration among AI tool creators and users, and a shared sense of responsibility. This would ultimately lead to AI successfully reaching its "full potential" to help our planet in the most beneficial way possible.