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AI and Life Cycle Assessment

Using artificial intelligence responsibly

You might have heard about the field of artificial intelligence, and perhaps you have heard of life cycle assessment too? Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life.

Before we talk specifically about the field of artificial intelligence and why LCA may be relevant it might be worth taking a look at what this cycle means.

LCA is a term specified in the International Organization for Standardization.

Environmental management

Let us start with ISO 14040:2006 Environmental management — Life cycle assessment — Principles and framework.

  • Informing decision-makers in industry, government or non-government organizations (e.g. for the purpose of strategic planning, priority setting, product or process design or redesign),
  • The selection of relevant indicators of environmental performance, including measurement techniques, and
  • Marketing (e.g. implementing an ecolabelling scheme, making an environmental claim, or producing an environmental product declaration)”
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ISO14040 definitions

The ISO14040 contains a series of definitions that I thought to list. I will not list all, but I will mention a few.

Recognition of EU

The EU recognises that LCA is a valuable way to assess the potential impact of products.

How could it be implemented for AI?

The typical approach within LCA is natural science based.

Written by

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.

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