A buzz in the technology realm is becoming mainstream. ChatGPT, created by OpenAI, is a model developed to understand natural language and generate responses in a conversational manner.

This Artificial Intelligence (AI) model has been trained to understand language. In its own words, ChatGPT explains that “this training process allowed the model to learn patterns and relationships in language that enable it to generate human-like responses to a wide range of questions and statements.”

Intrigued, I struck up a conversation. “How can AI help with recycling? What is the future of recycling with AI?” I asked ChatGPT.

“AI can help improve recycling processes by increasing efficiency, reducing contamination, and promoting the use of recycled materials. As technology continues to advance, there will likely be even more opportunities to leverage AI to optimize the recycling process.

The future of recycling with AI is promising, as AI technology can help improve recycling processes and make them more efficient and effective.

Here are a few potential ways that AI could impact the future of recycling:

1. Improved sorting: One of the main benefits of AI in recycling is the potential to improve the sorting of materials. By using machine learning algorithms, AI can quickly and accurately identify different types of materials, such as plastic, glass, or metal, which can help reduce contamination and increase recycling efficiency.

2. Real-time contamination detection: AI-powered systems can help detect contaminants in the recycling stream in real time. This can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and improve the quality of recycled materials.

3. Predictive maintenance: AI can help improve the maintenance of recycling equipment. By analyzing data from sensors and other sources, AI-powered systems can predict when equipment is likely to fail, allowing for proactive maintenance that can reduce downtime and increase efficiency.

4. Design for recycling: AI can help manufacturers design products for recyclability. Using AI-powered simulations, manufacturers can test and optimize products for disassembly, ease of recycling and the use of recycled materials. This can help reduce the amount of waste produced by end-of-life products and make recycling more efficient.

5. Improved circular economy: AI can help improve the circular economy by identifying new opportunities for recycling and reducing waste. By analyzing data on the use and disposal of materials, AI can help identify potential sources of waste and develop strategies for reducing waste and increasing recycling.

Overall, the future of recycling with AI is likely to involve a range of innovations that increase efficiency, reduce waste and promote the circular economy. As technology continues to advance, it is likely that we will see even more ways in which AI can be leveraged to improve recycling processes and reduce our impact on the environment.”

That was quite an impressive response on points that are of concern in regards to current recycling issues. So I asked: “when can AI help improve those?”

“AI is already being used in some recycling processes, and its potential to improve recycling in the ways I mentioned earlier is rapidly expanding. […] While some AI-powered systems are already being used to improve recycling, the full potential of AI in the industry has yet to be realized.”

In today’s world, we went from talking to technology to talking with it. And to know that AI can be applied to any industry, from education to healthcare, is exciting but a bit scary at the same time as it gives me “Terminator” vibes, but only time will tell.

“The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.” — John Connor. VV

Email Marcia Booth at Marcia@RecycleBrevard.org

Recycle Brevard is an independent non-profit organization 100% run by volunteers focused on reducing waste and promoting sustainable living.