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AI Google Power United Kingdom

Google Wants To Use AI To Cut the UK's Electric Bill By 10 Percent (popularmechanics.com) 68

The Google-owned firm artificial intelligence company DeepMind is in talks with the National Grid about a potential partnership, with the possibility of using the technology to make the supply of energy across the UK more efficient. From a report: Google Deepmind is opening talks with the UK government to use the company's artificial intelligence to reduce energy use by up to 10 percent. Artificial intelligence is highly adept at spotting patterns and making predictions that are much too small and subtle for humans to pick out, which lets AIs to micromanage systems with far greater efficiency than any human engineer could hope to achieve. For instance, Google is currently using 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.
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Google Wants To Use AI To Cut the UK's Electric Bill By 10 Percent

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  • So Google wants UK's energy usage information? Fascinating.

  • FTFA:

    In this case, the 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. If Deepmind's system is implemented and as successful as they believe, it could save the country billions of dollars a year.

    This seems like a very good idea to me. Much better than a brute force solution like selling them more batteries or forcing the use of those silly compact fluorescent bulbs.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @03:25PM (#54031891)

    No-one else concerned that an AI wants to reduce human use of power so there will be more available for its own processing? No?

    In fact from the article itself, we find that Google is not even involved in making this request:

    Google Deepmind is opening talks with the UK government

    I mean, holy shit!

    • That's okay though, we got lucky that Deepmind talked to the UK government first.

      They'll simply counter-attack with Deep Thought, we'll be safe for a few millenia.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The order for Farve's transfer was never issued by a human hand. It arrived via the computer, already signed. It came from inside special ops, and it should have been questioned, but the assessor's division, because it's responsible for internal security, for spying, is so twisted, so byzantine, the director never questioned the order because he couldn't afford to admit that he was out of the loop. Do you understand what I'm saying, Hume? No one knows who sent it. Our world allows for so many possibilitie

  • Google is currently using 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.

    So they are able to save money where they control all parameters. Fine.

    How are they going to manage windows, fan speeds, air conditioning, and more than a hundred other factors in normal houses?

    • How are they going to manage windows, fan speeds, air conditioning, and more than a hundred other factors in normal houses?

      Windows are nontrivial and as such probably won't be retrofitted, but fan speeds and furnace times/temps are easy to manage with a thermostat. Now, if only they could do that correctly.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Track every user of power and their stated land use. A home? Small shop? Small industrial site?
      Then connect the data that is not traditionally listed or collected by a power company. A home that is off the grid surrounded by working class users paying their utility bills.
      No power connected? Using very small amounts of power? That might get noticed. The grid is moving too much power in that area and all the other payments locally don't cover that pattern.
      No need to wait for the next billing cycle
    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )

      Google is currently using 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.

      So they are able to save money where they control all parameters. Fine.

      How are they going to manage windows, fan speeds, air conditioning, and more than a hundred other factors in normal houses?

      With a nest thermostat?

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      In the very first paragraph comes the very first error, "Powering an entire country is very expensive, but Google wants to make it a bit cheaper with no added infrastructure." er wait up, is not that Deepmind thingy going to mean additional computers and software and the power to run it ie additional infrastructure. Seems those deepminds are actually pretty shallow (likely what's deepest about them is the marketing bull puckey, deep indeed).

      Reality is, want to save energy and balance out loads, add batteri

  • Check the weather. Below freezing run overnight on 3. Below 40 run overnight on 2. Otherwise fire it up for an hour or two in the morning if it's chilly.
  • Here was one I wrote up at the weekend:

    http://www.earth.org.uk/Hey-Si... [earth.org.uk]

    Guess what could compute a daily forecast ready to upload to those phones and laptops, just for example, as well as some real-time polling?

    Some of it could be based on the data used here:

    http://www.earth.org.uk/_gridC... [earth.org.uk]

    Rgds

    Damon

  • Google will get to harvest all of that useful metadata about usage, etc.
  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @04:03PM (#54032241)

    Artificial intelligence is highly adept at spotting patterns and making predictions that are much too small and subtle for humans to pick out

    But all the patterns that AI extracts are historical. They all assume that the events in the future will be caused by, and will act out, the same things that happened in the past.

    We have seen this with computerised trading: that all they can do is find a past pattern of actions and try to fit that to what is happening now and will continue into the future. AIs have no ability to understand when the rules have changed, or when new and previously unseen conditions need to be applied.

    The UKs electricity generation often runs very, very, close to its limits in the winter. Mainly due to cost-cutting: why spend money on maintaining plant and excess capacity when it won't be used?

    To employ AI to shave further percentage points and thereby run even closer to the limits simply reduces the margin for the unexpected. And being unexpected, you can't blame an AI for not spotting those patterns in the past.

    A dangerous game.

    • by DamonHD ( 794830 ) <d@hd.org> on Monday March 13, 2017 @04:15PM (#54032317) Homepage

      Artificial intelligence is highly adept at spotting patterns and making predictions that are much too small and subtle for humans to pick out

      But all the patterns that AI extracts are historical. They all assume that the events in the future will be caused by, and will act out, the same things that happened in the past.

      The recent past remains statistically a good guide to the near future. Contingency plans deal with the rest. Using the former better saves money and makes the latter *less* likely.

      We have seen this with computerised trading: that all they can do is find a past pattern of actions and try to fit that to what is happening now and will continue into the future. AIs have no ability to understand when the rules have changed, or when new and previously unseen conditions need to be applied.

      The UKs electricity generation often runs very, very, close to its limits in the winter. Mainly due to cost-cutting: why spend money on maintaining plant and excess capacity when it won't be used?

      To employ AI to shave further percentage points and thereby run even closer to the limits simply reduces the margin for the unexpected. And being unexpected, you can't blame an AI for not spotting those patterns in the past.

      A dangerous game.

      It's more likely about better scheduling/forecasting than cutting any reserve.

      Cover for the largest expected single generator failure were increased when Sizewell (nuke) and then Longannet (coal) tripped in close succession in 2008. Maybe better modelling would have had the increased cover in place *before* then and 500,000 people would not have lost power.

      Rgds

      Damon

      PS. BTW, I worked with low-latency traders. I suspect it doesn't work quite how you imagine.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They all assume that the events in the future will be caused by, and will act out, the same things that happened in the past.

      That's how the human forecasters work too. They check the weather, the TV guide, industrial requirements and look at how they historically affected load. They factor in probability too, e.g. chance of parts of the grid being damaged based on weather. There are never really any unprecedented events, and there is always a balance between cost and reliability when there are major failures.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Should that really read "electricity bill" or are we talking about some sort of cyborg toucan?

  • ...logical, since the only thing that can stop A.I. is to pull the power, so if A.I. suspect that's the only thing stopping A.I. from total control, it starts with the power of course ;)

  • Ahhh!!! Micromanagement. Ahhh!!!
  • This is to compensate for the fact that 10% of today's global electricity bill is caused by training deep learning models.
  • Getting a good simulation of a city up and running, plus installing the data jack in the back of people's necks. After that 10% should be a cakewalk if that documentary I saw was legit.
  • This is one case where humans might want to be involved - versus being cut off in the middle of a cold winter by AI.

  • [Disclaimer, I've not read TFS]

    Figure out how much of each user's electricity bill is due to google ads and arrange for compensation directly into our bank accounts?

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