The new AI applications allow the quantity of greenhouse gases produced to be measured, but at the same time they themselves contribute to polluting the environment with a significant impact: which aspect prevails?
Artificial intelligence represents, at the same time, an opportunity and a risk from the point of view of environmental sustainability. In fact, it allows us to monitor carbon dioxide emissions, which companies often have difficulty calculating, and to optimize production processes. However, programming artificial intelligence requires a high expenditure of energy and is therefore highly polluting. At the moment only a very small percentage of companies know how much Co2 they produce and consequently are not able to evaluate the results obtained through the practices adopted.
The use of applications equipped with AI allows you to monitor the trend of emissions and identify the most effective solutions to reduce them quickly. We are talking about a substantial change, which could lead a company to significantly reduce emissions. At the same time, digital sustainability shows how new digital technologies impact the environment much more than one might imagine because, being based on access to a vast amount of data, the use of the cloud is necessary.
According to a study by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in the United States, developing a single artificial intelligence leads to the emission of 284 tons of carbon dioxide. Five times the average environmental impact of a car during its entire life cycle.
To balance the weight of this seemingly imposing comparison, however, it is necessary to remember that we are talking about the “training” phase
of artificial intelligence, not of its use.
In addition to this, we must take into account the renewable energies that web giants like Google are implementing. The latter is certainly an aspect on which to focus decisively to counterbalance the negative impact of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence therefore currently remains a controversial technology from the point of view of its relationship with environmental sustainability.