Can AI save the planet? Older Canadians are most optimistic, according to a national survey by IBM Canada

By and Jean-François Barsoum | 1 minute read | November 11, 2020

Last month, IBM conducted a survey to learn more about how Canadians feel regarding the use of technology in driving sustainability and protecting the planet, especially during this exceptional time we are experiencing with COVID-19. The results were surprising.  

According to the findings, different generations of Canadians have varying views on our progress in the fight against climate change, our personal contributions to the issue, and the potential for technologies like AI and Quantum Computing to help protect the planet. The study also reveals differences in perception as to the impact COVID-19 is having on the country’s environmental sustainability. 

Even though Canadians over the age of 50 are more likely to believe COVID-19 has stalled progress in the fight against climate change, they aren’t expressing any greater concern for the environment than a year ago. Conversely , two-thirds of adults under the age 30 seem increasingly pessimistic, indicating they are more worried about the environment now than before the pandemic. 

Some of that increased concern by younger Canadians may come from self-awareness over their COVID-19 habits. Respondents under the age of 30 admitted they have engaged in much more nonenvironmentally friendly habits during the past seven months, including buying disposable masks, shopping online, and using more plastic bags and disposable cups. 

Using AI to drive sustainability and protect the planet

Older Canadians are also most optimistic as to the potential for technology to overcome the climate crisis. 

While the study revealed an overwhelming majority (75%) of Canadians believe the advancement of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing is important in protecting Canada’s natural resources, Canadians over the age of 30 were more likely to believe they could help in actually reducing the country’s environmental footprint.  

One thing that became clear through this study is that, as we face the future in these unprecedented times, it is important for generations to unite in their commitment to planetary health and explore new and innovative ways to drive sustainability and protect the planet. 

To learn more about IBM and our commitment to the environment, visit: www.ibm.com/ibm/environment/climate/position

You can also read IBM’s most recent environmental reportwww.ibm.com/ibm/environment/annual/IBMEnvReport_2019.pdf