The rationale is that network complexity, and network densification will increase in 6G to support the high number of connected devices, the requirements for increased performance and for heterogeneity of services. In such scenario, the amount of data that need to be transmitted and processed at the edge will be extremely high. Consequently, mobile communications are pushing the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) ecosystem as one of the sectors that is experiencing the highest growth in terms of CO2 emissions, reaching 6% nowadays and, with the current trend, it would reach the 15% by 2030. Thus, the 6G network sustainability needs a broader scope, as 6G is expected to be an enabler technology towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to be a key technology in 6G to manage the network sustainability and network complexity challenges just mentioned. However, researchers in AI for mobile networks have to take into account the sustainability of AI techniques, as modern AI algorithms in other fields are known to demand large amounts of data and computations, and thus high energy demands. Thereby, sustainable AI for 6G networks is a research topic that is of paramount importance. In this regard, frameworks such as edge AI, distributed AI, frugal AI or network semantic-aware AI are promising approaches.
Dr. Jordi Serra (CTTC)