By Mary Hearty

A new Focus Group has been formed by the International Telecommunication Unit (ITU) to improve environmental efficiency with artificial intelligence by increasing automation, and smart manufacturing.

The Focus Group will manage the environmentally efficient operations of emerging technologies, as well impact these technologies on the environmental efficiency of the broader ecosystem of information and communication technology (ICT).

“Technologies and industries are advancing and converging in ways transforming the structure and productive processes of our economies,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU provides a neutral platform for government, industry and academia to work together in preparing for major waves of innovation, to the benefit of our societies, our economies and our environment.”

“New technologies are introducing new opportunities to achieve meaningful progress in environmental sustainability,” said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “ITU is supporting the international collaboration necessary to apply these technologies to maximum effect.”

The new ITU Focus Group will harmonize and evaluate research on the relationship between emerging technologies and environmental efficiency. Thereafter, the research will be reported to the ITU standardization expert group for ‘environment, climate change and circular economy’, ITU-T Study Group 5.

The standardization expert group will benchmark best practices and describe pathways towards a standardized framework to assess environmental aspects of the adoption of emerging technologies.

“This new Focus Group will provide a global platform to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of AI and other emerging technologies, as well as to address these technologies’ ability to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the objectives of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, and the protection of biodiversity,” said the Chair of ITU-T Study Group 5, Victoria Sukenik, National Secretariat of ICTs, Argentina.

“The Focus Group will assist ITU-T Study Group 5 in remaining well positioned to develop international standards protecting our planet,” said Sukenik.

This research to increase environmental efficiency is open to all interested parties. Moreover, it will lead a two-year consultation process to identify new aspects of environmental efficiency to benefit from ITU international standards.