Sustainability Analysis of AI Technologies

Figure: System and Experiment Structure Figure 1. Sustainability analysis diagram of the artificial intelligence (AI) field according to the five dimensions of sustainability. (Khakurel et al., 2018)

I had the privilege to participate to the sustainability analysis of AI technologies with my colleagues Jayden, Birgit, and others. Recently we published a paper in the Technologies journal where we mapped the impact of AI on sustainability on five axis: Social, economical, technical, environmental, and individual.

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An open access version of the paper is available at MDPI.


Since the 1950s, artificial intelligence (AI) has been a recurring topic in research. However, this field has only recently gained significant momentum because of the advances in technology and algorithms, along with new AI techniques such as machine learning methods for structured data, modern deep learning, and natural language processing for unstructured data. Although companies are eager to join the fray of this new AI trend and take advantage of its potential benefits, it is unclear what implications AI will have on society now and in the long term. Using the five dimensions of sustainability to structure the analysis, we explore the impacts of AI on several domains. We find that there is a significant impact on all five dimensions, with positive and negative impacts, and that value, collaboration, sharing responsibilities; ethics will play a vital role in any future sustainable development of AI in society. Our exploration provides a foundation for in-depth discussions and future research collaborations.


Khakurel J, Penzenstadler B, Porras J, Knutas A, Zhang W. The Rise of Artificial Intelligence under the Lens of Sustainability. Technologies. 2018; 6(4):100. (Open access at MPDI)