The internet contributes 1.6 billion annual tons in greenhouse gas emissions. Google and Microsoft's AI search war will make it worse.
Author: Hannah Getahun
Ever since the partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI paved the way for a future where AI powers search engine results, an all-out race has ensued between Bing and Google to implement the technology. The power used to train a single artificial intelligence can emit hundreds of thousands of pounds in carbon emissions while internet use makes up nearly 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The computing power necessary to merge AI with the load of search engine queries could increase the amount of computing power necessary from companies like Google and Microsoft by up to 5 times, experts told Wired. And with the increase in computers, greenhouse gas emissions will rise. Environmental issues aren't the only criticisms ChatGPT and Google's AI have received in the past. Google's rollout for Bard garnered criticism from employees who say the product is "rushed and botched" according to a report from CNBC. In a statement to Insider, Jane Park, a spokesperson for Google, said the company would initially be launching a "lighter" version of Bard that would require less computing power. "We have also published research detailing the energy costs of state-of-the-art language models, including an earlier and larger, version of LaMDA," Park said in a statement. "Our findings show that combining efficient models, processors, and data centers with clean energy sources can reduce the carbon footprint of a ML system by as much as 1000X."