Machine learning, Big Data, and automation are revolutionizing global industry – and the energy sector is no exception. Innovation is driving technological progress, boosting economic efficiency, creating smarter business operations, and leading to more resilient infrastructure. It’s why businesses and governments around the world are making advanced technology – including artificial intelligence – a top economic and national security priority.
Energy companies are implementation big data and AI in versatile ways – and the sector is growing. The market for AI software in the oil and gas industry is expected to reach a whopping $2.85 billion by 2022. Predictive analytics can monitor miles and miles of underground pipelines, while machine-learning can help fossil fuel companies drill more effectively at a lower cost through better understanding the geological structures far below the earth’s surface. New ‘smart’ electric grids are employing machine learning technology to integrate computers, automation, and sensors in order to respond instantaneously – and even predictively – to rapid changes in energy demand.
In February this year, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order designed to maintain America’s dominance in the field of artificial intelligence technology. The so-called American AI Initiative focuses on boosting federal spending and resources across industry, academia, and other non-Federal entities to generate technological breakthroughs in AI.
In May, Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced the Department of Energy (DOE) was partnering with Cray and AMD to build Frontier, consisting of three new machines that will enhance America’s AI capabilities. Frontier is said to be the world’s fastest computer, roughly 50 times faster than current supercomputers.
China has also jumped into the AI game early – and by some metrics is ahead of the United States.
In 2017, the Chinese government released “A New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan” outlining concrete R&D funding and goals to advance The People’s Republic as a global leader in AI by 2030 adding an estimated $150 billion to its economy. While the United States dominates China in most AI related metrics, the PRC is ahead in startup equity funding and data collection. Furthermore, China is home to 17 of the top 20 universities for AI research.