Special Issue "Towards the Sustainability of AI; Multi-Disciplinary Approaches to Investigate the Hidden Costs of AI"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe
E-Mail Website
Leading Guest Editor
Institute for Science and Ethics, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Interests: artificial intelligence ethics; robot ethics; care ethics; value sensitive design; digital ethics
Ms. Larissa Bolte
Guest Editor Assistant
Institute for Science and Ethics, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Interests: ethics; metaethics; normativity; philosophy of logic
Ms. Jamila Nachid
Guest Editor Assistant
Institute for Science and Ethics, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Interests: bioethics; climate ethics; ethics of human rights; ethics of migration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will be published as an accompaniment to the world’s first conference dedicated to the topic of sustainable AI, organized by the University of Bonn, Germany. Sustainable AI can be understood as having two branches; AI for sustainability and sustainability of AI (e.g., reduction of carbon emissions and computing power).  In order to fully understand the benefits and risks of AI, it is important to investigate both of these branches. While there is a growing number of publications directed towards AI for the Sustainable Development Goals, there is little research addressing the, often hidden, environmental costs of AI. For this reason, Prof van Wynsberghe invites researchers of all relevant fields to start thinking about the sustainability of AI and aims at sparking discussion on the environmental, social and economic costs of designing, developing and using AI across society. The questions to be explored span across multiple disciplines and levels of analysis, for example: the normative grounding of the value of sustainability; the strength of the concept of sustainability; how to measure environmental costs of AI; understanding the intergenerational impacts of AI; and, informing public policy guidelines for the green, proportionate and sustainable development and use of AI.

Contributions from the perspectives of: computer sciences, philosophy, (applied) AI ethics, social sciences, law and policy, and others are welcome and encouraged.

Interested researchers are invited to address any of the following topics (list not exclusive):

  • How to measure, or experiences with measuring, carbon emissions of training and tuning AI models
  • Green AI
  • AI and smart cities
  • AI and sustainability impact assessments
  • AI and sustainable policy
  • AI and human rights
  • Sustainable AI and power dynamics
  • AI and intergenerational justice
  • Normative grounding of sustainability as a value to steer AI

Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe
Leading Guest Editor

Ms. Larissa Bolte
Ms. Jamila Nachid
Guest Editor Assistants

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • sustainability
  • artificial intelligence
  • sustainable AI
  • green AI
  • environmental impact
  • intergenerational justice
  • proportionality
  • impact assessment
  • public policy
  • sustainable development

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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