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AI is supposed to make us more efficient – but it could mean we waste more energy

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The European Union is negotiating the world's first comprehensive Artificial Intelligence Act, aiming to regulate AI based on its risks
However, discussions often overlook the environmental risk of increased energy consumption due to AI's use in daily activities. This oversight could contribute to the climate emergency, given AI's significant energy and resource demands.

🔭 The context: AI's dual role in climate action is noteworthy. While it can enhance energy grid efficiency and aid in climate change modeling and monitoring, the infrastructure needed for AI, such as data centers for large language models like OpenAI's GPT-3, is highly energy and resource-intensive

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: AI's environmental impact is likely underestimated, especially if only direct carbon footprints are considered. AI's indirect influence on behavior and activities, such as more efficient home systems or AI-optimized travel routes, can paradoxically lead to increased energy use through rebound effects
This scenario complicates efforts to reduce total energy consumption at a critical time for climate action.

⏭️ What's next: As AI becomes more embedded in our lives, its indirect impacts on energy use and climate action need greater attention. The development and integration of AI should consider its broader environmental implications, including how it alters human behavior and potentially increases energy consumption
Future AI designs may need to address these unintended consequences to support a sustainable interaction between humans and AI.

💬 One quote: "The true environmental impacts of AI, its indirect impact on everyday life should not be ignored," highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach to AI's environmental impact.

📈 One stat: Ride-hailing apps using AI have led to 69% more climate pollution, exemplifying AI's complex environmental implications.

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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