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Google wants to save UK electricity with AI

by on14 March 2017

No added infrastructure

Google Deepmind is opening talks with the UK government to use the company's artificial intelligence to reduce British energy use by up to 10 percent.

AI is rather good at spotting patterns and making predictions that are much too small and subtle for humans to pick out. This allows AI to micromanage systems with far greater efficiency than any human engineer.

Google uses Deepmind's AI to control its server rooms, where it manages windows, fan speeds, air conditioning, and more than a hundred other factors to save Google hundreds of millions of dollars in electricity costs.

Now the search engine wants to apply that same tech to an entire country and turn it loose on the UK's National Grid. 

Deepmind CEO Demis Hassabis told the Financial Times that AI would be used to predict the high and low points of energy usage, as well as supply from renewable sources like wind and solar.

Deepmind believes that such a system would increase the country's ability to rely on renewables, cutting energy costs by as much as 10 percent annually. It could save the country billions of dollars a year.

"It would be amazing if you could save 10 percent of the country's energy usage without any new infrastructure, just from optimisation. That's pretty exciting," enthused Hassabis.

A similar setup is under construction in Germany, and Google thinks the 10 percent cost savings could materialise within the next few years.

Last modified on 14 March 2017
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