The Growing Adoption Of AI Will Have Drastic Effects On Climate Change, Environmentalists Warn

The world of AI has really touched upon all sectors with tools like ChatGPT taking the professional world under its belt.

But who knew that the effects are more far-fetched than just that?

Yes, think along the lines of the growing adoption of AI causing a drastic effect on the environment. And that’s the reason why environmentalists are signaling the alarm.

Previous reports were speaking about how AI is literally hovering over the world’s economy. Moreover, it’s getting rid of more jobs at a pace that’s greater than what so many of us had imagined.

It could be our personal lives, the teaching world, and dating too. In the same manner, it’s also dealing with art creation. But what most of us tend to forget is how those huge systems required to power the world of AI are actually paving the way to more climate pollution via huge emissions. Similarly, we’re seeing a huge amount of water being consumed as we speak.

Today, the IT industry which used to be applauded for its green behavior is now giving rise to more waste, using close to 10% of the global electricity sources, and also producing up to 5% of carbon emissions. These stats were recently unveiled by the EU’s parliament.

The figures are not stationary and we’re expecting them to rise by up to 14% in the next two decades or even less.

Meanwhile, research experts at the University of Massachusetts are talking about the huge figures of energy being consumed for AI model training. Just one test of a large language model can produce nearly 626k pound of carbon dioxide. And you can better imagine that as taking 300 round trips from San Francisco to New York. better yet, think of it as five times the complete emissions of the average vehicle during its lifespan.

The world of AI has been previously praised for being the best solution to solve the climate crisis, thanks to the UN Panel at this year’s Climate Change conference which says technology can enhance energy efficiency. This would promote the best adoption of renewable sources but it’s really hard to visualize its true effect on the environment.

One previously published report spoke about ChatGPT consuming close to a water bottle’s worth of fresh water as cold water is necessary to keep those tireless servers working day and night and to ensure the temperature remains at the optimum level.

When experts questioned ChatGPT about energy consumption and carbon footprints it was leaving behind, the firm said it would be just restricted to the energy taken in by PCs and their respective servers.

Meanwhile, the exact figure would be dependent on factors like energy that’s used to fuel the PCs and their respective data centers.

While some major tech firms are still trying to launch greener alternatives to better fight this impact across the environment, critics feel that not enough is being done on this front. Moreover, there just does not seem to be enough kinds of creative marketing strategies in place to really ward off the negative effects of climate change, they did.

Google has spoken about replacing 120% of all water sources it takes in while Microsoft wants to be carbon neutral in the next seven years.

So as you can tell, there’s some effort in place but clearly a lot more is required if we really don’t want to face the dire consequences that climate change is bringing forward to us all.

There is also a greater emphasis on sustainability but the question is how much more is needed to bring positive change.

Read next: A Recent Study Sheds Light on AI Hallucinations and What Society Thinks of Them
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