Sustainability and artificial intelligence

Technology can be used to assist sustainability.


AI is a tool that could help humanity to live sustainably.

In the UK we are in the midst of a scandal involving some of our hospitals.  Starved of money and people one hospital was the cause of an estimated 400-1200 deaths over five years.  None of the agencies that were supposed to monitor standards of care and the welfare of patients identified the problems until too late.

When one is dealing with a complicated system like a hospital the problem is that nobody seemed to know what the other person is doing.  Too many patients were left unattended, thirsty, starving and without their needed medication.  Resources were wrongly allocated or poorly recorded.

When I think of beehives, those bees operate as one mind, they are constantly communicating with each other through smell, sound and dance.  If a bee encounters a problem it gets to work to resolve the problem whilst sending out a signal to others to assist it.  Bees have excellent communications systems.  This sort of communication system is not possible amongst humans, but could be possible using artificial intelligence.

One or a group of human minds could not possibly know at every moment about everything that is going on in a large hospital, but an artificially intelligent mind could.  An AI mind can have a working inventory of every piece of medical equipment in the hospital; it would know where the equipment is located and how it is being used.  If the AI is aware of equipment needing replacing it can place an immediate order out for replacement, the same for all drugs.  In real-time the AI can cost every action and every piece of equipment used so that budgets can be better allocated.

With use of tags and a memory-map of the whole hospital complex an AI can communicate with everyone making sure staff are in those places they are needed, and that no patient is neglected.  For security the AI would be aware if an individual was in an unauthorised area, even if they carried no tag.

The AI could monitor that every patient was cared for, so they were clean, never hungry, thirsty and received the correct medication promptly.  The AI could have direct communications with patient, their family and outside bodies.  If there was a failure in care the AI could send out warnings, even to an outside monitoring agency if needed.  With access to patient records such an AI could watch for errors of misdiagnosis or incorrect medical processes.  The AI could communicate with patients via the internet even after they leave the hospital to monitor their recovery.

Had an AI been in place in the Mid Staffs Hospital hundreds of lives would have been saved, and hundreds more would have not suffered from poor care.

In my opinion AI is an essential tool of sustainability of any system of the future, specifically in that it can know instantly at any one time a vast array of variables, and can communicate in real-time to create an energy-efficient system for the benefit of humanity and the environment.


24 responses to “Sustainability and artificial intelligence

  1. Bees spend a surprising amount of time just walking round the hive, monitoring what’s going on. This allows them to respond when help is needed or they spot issues in the hive. When hospitals are understaffed, and nurses are running around frantically, presumably they don’t have that spare time to notice problems that crop up.

    • Every system needs to have adequate resources to function, be it bees or nurses. Profit was put before people in the case of a few hospitals which resulted in the appalling consequences as identified in the public enquiries. A hospital trust in my town of Colchester has been identified as possibly having a similar problem as Mid Staffs with high mortality rates.

  2. It’s an interesting idea, but I think that it’s Thatcher’s legacy of audit driven, top-down bureaucracy that’s the real problem…we need more humanity, not more AI

    • I have never liked the idea of the target driven systems that seems to infect UK and many other nations. Putting people at the centre of any system with an AI acting as a supporting team player would produce an efficient system with no targets where people would be valued in my opinion.

  3. Still an oatmeal brain over here, but I agree with you. I think used responsibly AI combined with workers would improve efficiency and accuracy in a lot of work situations. Especially the medical field. I could use some AI right now. Lol.

  4. AI needs human intelligence (oxymoron) to implement it, and we haven’t got the intelligence to do even that.


  5. I just didn’t know such things happened in the UK.400-1200 avoidable hospital deaths,that’s high even with a population like ours.

  6. Pingback: Artificial intelligence is already here (and in control) | Tim

  7. Interesting comparison – bees to nurses! I think the bees are winning! I often wish the government operated on a more ‘communal-level’ mind. When reading about projects like HS2 costing £32 billion and the NHS being cut £20 million, it makes me wish decision-makers could operate more like bees and for the good of the community. The latest event in our healthcare system are very sad.

  8. A lot of the problems I think now stem from targets of profits instead of targets of Quality Care.. A lot can be said from the days of the Matron as she understood her ward and requirements.. Instead today we have too many Bureaucrats in hospital administration who know nothing about Medical care..

    Great post

    • A customer of mine recently said that all the public services no longer care, that people were replaced by targets and profits. I think that an AI can look after the targets and profits and people can then be freed to look after people.

  9. I’ve been working a lot with Artificial Intelligence lately, and the idea of there being an AI to improve the functionality of a Hospital sounds like a terrific idea. Mixed in with various expert systems to assist doctors.. I can only imagine where we would go.

  10. AI is actually an applied and basic topic of Computer Science.

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