AI in the Wild

From One Planet

AI in the Wild

Sustainability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

By Peter Dauvergne

Examining the potential benefits and risks of using artificial intelligence to advance global sustainability.

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Summary

Examining the potential benefits and risks of using artificial intelligence to advance global sustainability.

Drones with night vision are tracking elephant and rhino poachers in African wildlife parks and sanctuaries; smart submersibles are saving coral from carnivorous starfish on Australia's Great Barrier Reef; recycled cell phones alert Brazilian forest rangers to the sound of illegal logging. The tools of artificial intelligence are being increasingly deployed in the battle for global sustainability. And yet, warns Peter Dauvergne, we should be cautious in declaring AI the planet's savior. In AI in the Wild, Dauvergne avoids the AI industry-powered hype and offers a critical view, exploring both the potential benefits and risks of using artificial intelligence to advance global sustainability.

Dauvergne finds that corporations and states often use AI in ways that are antithetical to sustainability. The competition to profit from AI is entrenching technocratic management, revving up resource extraction, and turbocharging consumption, as consumers buy new smart devices (and discard their old, less-smart ones). Smart technology is helping farmers grow crops more efficiently, but also empowering the agrifood industry. Moreover, states are weaponizing AI to control citizens, suppress dissent, and aim cyberattacks at rival states.

Is there a way to harness the power of AI for environmental and social good? Dauvergne argues for precaution and humility as guiding principles in the deployment of AI.

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$24.95 T ISBN: 9780262539333 280 pp. | 6 in x 9 in

Endorsements

  • While rejecting the hackneyed outcome that has AI killing off humanity, this book is as fast-paced and thrilling as any sci-fi storyline. Dauvergne is best when analyzing why it is not too late to guide the genius of AI toward applications that work to increase social and environmental equity and justice.

    Joni Adamson

    President's Professor of Environmental Humanities and Distinguished Sustainability Scholar, Global Futures Laboratory, Arizona State University

  • While much work on artificial intelligence focuses on society, AI in the Wild focuses on what could be one of AI's most profound applications: the preservation of our natural environment.

    César A. Hidalgo

    Artificial and Natural Intelligence Toulouse Institute (ANITI)

  • A must-read for anyone interested in the global impacts of AI and how those who wield it will reshape our world environment in the coming decades.

    Kate O'Neill

    Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley