Essay Example - The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Achieving Sustainable Development

Published: 2023-08-14
Essay Example - The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Achieving Sustainable Development
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Population Artificial intelligence Sustainable development
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1735 words
15 min read

Sustainability implies that countries are able to meet essential human needs without compromising future generations. With population growth, there will be a subsequent increase in demand for energy, food, clean water, shelter, education, clothing, and healthcare service among other basic needs, which a majority of countries is struggling to provide for its populations presently (Fullman et al., 2017). The development of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainability was aimed to ensure that countries meet the current demand for essential services while utilizing the available resources and conserving the resources as well. It is indeed a challenge to meet such needs for a growing population, thus the need for technological applications to seal demand gaps. Artificial intelligence is one of the new technologies in the market that is recently in application to meet such demands (Fullman et al., 2017).

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In an economic setup, it would be highly unsustainable to meet the demands of billions of people without the utilization of smart technologies in production. Much as humans have been successful in the past, without the use of highly advanced technologies, there have been significant shortcomings in the utilization of such methods (Lu et al., 2018). Such outcomes have been hunger and food shortages as experienced in Sub-Saharan countries and other economies with low income, lack of adequate clean water, lack of adequate energy supply, impoverished healthcare systems, and poor infrastructural developments among others. Developed countries, thanks to improved technological methods such as the utilization of AI have achieved tremendously in the areas of agriculture, energy, healthcare, and transport (Lu et al., 2018). This not only shows the advantages of technology in sustainable development, but also the opportunities it provides, for countries to develop socially, economically, politically as well as environmental conservation measures.

According to a review by Vinuesa et al. (2020), artificial intelligence could enable 134 of the 169 targets, which translate to 79% of sustainable development goals, through technological improvement as it will enable it to overcome the current limitations. Sustainability also aims to reduce negative societal outcomes (Park et al., 2015). AI, for instance, could enable the development of sustainable cities that would provide unlimited access to food, water, energy services, quality healthcare as well as ensuring sustainability in terms of waste management. It would also enable the utilization of green energy such as solar power that would support the low-carbon systems (Sachs, 2015). Such improvements could be achieved through the introduction of circular cities that utilize resources effectively.

Concerning environmental conservation, AI technologies would enable the possibility of analyzing large-scale interconnected actions that are aimed towards environmental protection; the use of low-carbon energy systems, such as renewable energy would have a huge implication on climate change, which is a pressing topic now (Sachs, 2015). AI could enable scientists to identify vegetation cover, desertification trends, which would aid in environmental planning, decision-making and management, thus avoiding the adverse impacts of human activities on the environment.

In today’s society, corporates have been increasingly utilizing less material to produce the same quality of products as way of meeting sustainable goals. The shifts in ways of doing business, from analog to digital have indeed saved a lot of resources over time, and the shift has been well received and acknowledged by conservationists throughout the world (Aversaet al., 2016). With the improvement in technology and the utilization of smart systems, corporates will not be very far from achieving its goals of sustainability.

Organizations should strive to be part of the societies that they transact businesses with and adapt to the cultural diversities. They should also champion to be in compliance with the international norms as well as living in line with the media and civil expectations (Lu et al., 2018). Application of smart technologies in businesses, such as artificial intelligence has been considered as one of the greatest achievement in the corporate industry. However, there is a need for the transnational corporations to develop a framework that is transcultural, which builds upon the knowledge that is gathered regarding the normative values and principles that are shared by cultures and accepted by all religions and which applies common practical experiences.

Corporate social responsibility implies that the technologies that are applied in businesses comprehend the essential societal components such as respect for human rights, providing fair labor conditions, environmental protection, and preventing moral inadequacies such as corruption (Fullman et al., 2017). Smart technologies, such as AI have become increasingly present in today’s businesses. However, moral issues, such as the substitution of human labor with machines that would eventually strip individuals their jobs question its ability to meet the sustainable goal of reducing poverty and inequality (Lu et al., 2018). Notwithstanding, the application of AI in production has been aimed to increase the quantity of goods supplied hence meeting demand, as in the case of agriculture.

From supply, operations, customer care, and the products, corporates understand how the impacts of human activity in such complex systems (Aversa et al., 2016). Carbon footprints, such as that of Hewlett and Packard have spanned the globe and the entire value chain including the millions of suppliers, clients, and customers. Companies have proactively participated in carbon and water reductions and thus meeting some of the environmental goals of sustainability. With the utilization of less material-intensive systems and renewable energy, corporates are driving achievement of the environmental goals (Aversa et al., 2016).


The field of artificial intelligence is relatively new in the field of research. A majority of studies have not been done to fully analyze the impact of AI on sustainability. There is a relatively large research gap in the field of smart technologies such as artificial intelligence as these technologies have not been fully developed and if so, they have not been utilized fully by a majority of companies even in the developed nations. AI is a new concept in research, and considering that it is highly complex and continuously evolving, studies have not been carried out to fully identify its role in sustainability presently.

Understanding the field of AI is a resource-intensive activity, and it would take many years to make important conclusions regarding it. Its studies have to be systematic, considering numerous types of technologies that incorporate AI to achieve its full function exist. Studying the applications of AI in sustainability is wide, but generalizations would be made in this paper in terms of the economic, social, and environmental factors as those are the areas AI has been utilized in a wide dimension. AI will continue to grow and its applications increase, and hence future studies would increasingly require a specification, thus ensuring full exploration of the area, thus enabling the complexity in the application and its impact on sustainability analyzed in more detail.

Research Context

With the increased demand for sustainable processes and waste minimization, companies are now forced to review their structures and systems to accommodate the current global demands. There is a need for corporates to review their policies, strategies, regulations, laws, and ethics to govern technological applications (Lu et al., 2018). Corporate social responsibility has to be reviewed in line with the adopted systems and the impacts on the society and environment reviewed. It is high time that organizations accept that technology will be part of their everyday processes, and thus, sustainable actions need to be done to ensure that they remain competitive in the markets.

The application of technology in industrial processes has been there since the nineteenth century. The impact of technological applications such as automation has been protested and in 19th century England, Luddites was a label for people who were against progress in technology (Soltau, 2016). The novel Frankenstein, a space odyssey film depicted intelligent machines turning against its makers. Recent studies have examined the potential of machines disrupting the labor markets, as well as redefining social interactions and relations. Robots have been applied widely in assembly lines and for decades as it benefits the ubiquity for providing cheap computing power and pushing software application into new areas such as image processing and language (Soltau, 2016).

The expansion of computing, as well as machine learning, has affected healthcare provision, education, cybersecurity and privacy, energy, and environmental management. Access to a band, which is changing how education sessions are conducted as evident with the availability of online courses, and as technology improves even what people learn, could change significantly (Soltau, 2016). In the future machines would take on plenty of routine tasks, and learning enabling stimulation of conceptual as well as creative abilities, implying that the education system would shift to enable interaction with intelligent machines.

AI also holds the potential of improving efficiency in processes hence promoting environmental sustainability, although there is a concern on issues of privacy and intellectual property rights (Soltau, 2016). AI impacts such as automation are felt mainly in the developed world, and greater computer applications such as 3D printing could invert the competitive advantage that the low-cost markets have enjoyed in the form of low-cost labor (Soltau, 2016). It is crucial to observe that in the future, AI could replace a majority of human resources incorporates, and the application of machines would become a more reliable form of production. Hence, there is a big concern about the threat that AI may have on human productivity, and labor (Soltau, 2016).

The increasing population would imply an increase in the need for food, clean water, energy, and health services among others. Old systems of doing things may soon vanish allowing the utilization of more sufficient methods that include smart technologies such as AI. The demand for goods and services will drive economies to the edge and would be forced to adopt the most resourceful forms of production. Hence, it is high time that governments invest in smart technologies to keep up with the ever-rising population demands for goods and services. Economic collapse could be experienced in the near future is such smart technologies are not adopted in due time.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the role of artificial intelligence in achieving sustainable development. Since the Development of 2030 Agenda for Sustainability, firms must adopt ways of doing business that is sustainable and effective in terms of resource conservation and environmental protection. These agendas revolve around economic, social, political, and environmental sectors. These goals are crucial in ensuring that countries are able to meet the needs of its citizens without compromising those of future generations.

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