At AIxIA, Lisa Kratochwill from the German Energy Agency at DENA will hold a workshop on the need for AI to accelerate the energy transition. Here’s a little sneak peek of what to expect.
Hi Lisa! At AIxIA you’re going to give a workshop on „The need for AI to accelerate the energy transition“. Before we dive into the subject, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I’m coming from beautiful Austria, have a background in Mechanical Engineering – Management and a real passion for renewable energies. It all started with my thermodynamics lecture during my time in Munich, after which I got more and more interested in various energy related topics. I developed a deep interest in digital technologies – in particular in AI, in my position at the German Energy Agency where I realised the huge potential of the technology for the necessary transformation of our energy system.
When it comes to climate protection, AI is not the first technology that many people think of. How can Artificial Intelligence help us to speed up the clean energy transition?
I believe that we first have to make a step back here and look at the bigger picture. We need to protect our climate. I think this is a non-negotiable fact. Due to this need we have to transform our energy system from fossil fuels dominated to a renewable and sustainable way of producing, storing and consuming energy. This leads us to the necessity of coupling sectors: mobility, building, energy, heat are not individual branches anymore.
Now we come to the point where we have millions of assets that need to be connected, thousands of variables for each asset and an extremely complex system that cannot be handled anymore solely by a human. Therefore, we need digital technologies to make the energy transition possible.
AIxIA is a French-German conference on the application of AI. What are the benefits of such cross-border collaborations and why are they so important?
When it comes to the development of AI, we see China and the USA as the big players who invest a lot of capital in this technology. We also see smaller but very innovative countries such as Israel that form new AI Start-ups nearly on a daily basis. If we as Europe want to find our place in this highly competitive environment, we need to collaborate. There is no point in always reinventing the wheel, we should rather learn from each other – from our mistakes, but also from our successful projects.
Therefore, it is inevitable to support those cross-border collaborations. In addition, with France and Germany, two countries that maintain a strong partnership and the two strongest economies in the European Union, it is only logical to support each other.
One year ago, Forbes stated in an article: „It is a simple truth: the field of artificial intelligence is far too male-dominated.“ What’s your opinion on that and how can the status quo be changed?
It is a simple truth: the whole field of technology is far too male-dominated! So what to do now? I think there is a change, more and more girls and women getting interested in this topic. I believe that it’s important to encourage these women to speak up, to state their opinion, to talk about their expertise. I was lucky enough that from the beginning of my career I was given the chance and encouraged to step in the stage light. That’s how I got the courage to deepen my knowledge in the respective field and to talk about it in public.
Of course, there will always be people that will be better in certain areas and know more. I have recently been on a panel with two men that both started working several years before I was even born. Nevertheless, what I brought to the conversation were fresh, innovative ideas that were not limited by how things have been done for the past decades.
Everyone is talking about AI and setting high hopes in this technology. But where are the limits of artificial intelligence, if any?
Way too often quoted but still very true: “The sky is the limit”! We have so many challenges to face; climate change being the biggest one. Therefore, I think we really should not focus on the limits of the technology, but just continue using it and implementing it. We should dream big, stay innovative, try the impossible and never forget why we are doing all of this: to create a planet on which future generations can have a livable life too.
About the project:
The project „French-German Networking on Industry 4.0 and Applied Artificial Intelligence“ is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg and coordinated by an experienced consortium, consisting of DIZ | Digital Innovation Center, Allianz Industry 4.0, bw-International, CyberForum e.V, FZI | Research Center for Information Technology and Steinbeis Europe Center . The main goal of the project is to lay down a foundation for a sustainable French-German ecosystem on AI and Industry 4.0. More informations about the French-German Project in french or german.