Technology can be used to assist sustainability.
In the UK we are in the midst of a scandal involving some of our hospitals. Starved of money and people one hospital was the cause of an estimated 400-1200 deaths over five years. None of the agencies that were supposed to monitor standards of care and the welfare of patients identified the problems until too late.
When one is dealing with a complicated system like a hospital the problem is that nobody seemed to know what the other person is doing. Too many patients were left unattended, thirsty, starving and without their needed medication. Resources were wrongly allocated or poorly recorded.
When I think of beehives, those bees operate as one mind, they are constantly communicating with each other through smell, sound and dance. If a bee encounters a problem it gets to work to resolve the problem whilst sending out a signal to others to assist it. Bees have excellent communications systems. This sort of communication system is not possible amongst humans, but could be possible using artificial intelligence.
One or a group of human minds could not possibly know at every moment about everything that is going on in a large hospital, but an artificially intelligent mind could. An AI mind can have a working inventory of every piece of medical equipment in the hospital; it would know where the equipment is located and how it is being used. If the AI is aware of equipment needing replacing it can place an immediate order out for replacement, the same for all drugs. In real-time the AI can cost every action and every piece of equipment used so that budgets can be better allocated.
With use of tags and a memory-map of the whole hospital complex an AI can communicate with everyone making sure staff are in those places they are needed, and that no patient is neglected. For security the AI would be aware if an individual was in an unauthorised area, even if they carried no tag.
The AI could monitor that every patient was cared for, so they were clean, never hungry, thirsty and received the correct medication promptly. The AI could have direct communications with patient, their family and outside bodies. If there was a failure in care the AI could send out warnings, even to an outside monitoring agency if needed. With access to patient records such an AI could watch for errors of misdiagnosis or incorrect medical processes. The AI could communicate with patients via the internet even after they leave the hospital to monitor their recovery.
Had an AI been in place in the Mid Staffs Hospital hundreds of lives would have been saved, and hundreds more would have not suffered from poor care.
In my opinion AI is an essential tool of sustainability of any system of the future, specifically in that it can know instantly at any one time a vast array of variables, and can communicate in real-time to create an energy-efficient system for the benefit of humanity and the environment.