What is ChatGPT’s carbon footprint?

Every technological innovation brings in its wake a greater environmental cost. ChatGPT is no exception to the rule. A study has shed light on the carbon footprint of this artificial intelligence that many companies are rushing to. The result is no doubt: it creates smoke Information Center. The statistics are staggering, enough to dampen public enthusiasm.

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A carbon footprint equivalent to 136 round-trip flights between Paris and New York. This is the carbon footprint associated with ChatGPT3, as estimated by the Greenley site.

Impossible (or almost) miss: Since its launch in late 2022, the ChatGPT artificial intelligence service has been at the center of many debates. This new generative AI tool is capable of generating diverse and varied content for many everyday applications: information search, book summaries, cooking recipes… Some web users are even using it to write cover letters or best man speeches for weddings!

Interest in ChatGPT increased last March with the release of an even more sophisticated and powerful GPT-4 version. But any innovation has an environmental cost, as we’ve seen with other recent technologies like this one Cryptocurrencies or NFTs. And (one would have guessed), ChatGPT is no exception.

The hidden face of data centers

Greenly is a French app and platform that allows companies to estimate their CO emissions2 In real-time, ChatGPT3’s carbon footprint was accurately visualized. Note slightly salty. According to Greenley’s estimates, the GPT-3 version of the new AI service will emit 240 tons of CO.2Equivalent (CO2e), or the equivalent of 136 round trips between Paris and New York. ChatGPT3’s main energy-consumption post is not in its usage, but in the data centers used to make it work.

The digital carbon footprint is exploding because of AI

Learning systems alone account for 99% of total emissions, or 238 tCO2And throughout the year. ” In detail, electrical activity accounts for three-quarters of the carbon footprint (i.e. 160 tCO2e), tracking server production (68.9 tCO2e) and leakage of refrigerant gases (9.6 tCO2e) », refers to survey.

Reduced enthusiasm

The remaining two tonnes of carbon footprint estimated by Greenley is related to the design of the tool, such as data storage, data transfer and its use, such as search functionality. This calculation is based on a scenario where a company uses ChatGPT to automatically send one million outgoing emails per month over a one-year period. Bringing into perspective the general enthusiasm for this instrument, considered “revolutionary” in many respects. ” Despite ChatGPT’s impressive performance, it’s fair to wonder if the game is worth the effort from an environmental standpoint. With every technological advance, carbon emissions increase significantly “, asserts green climatologist Tommy Catherine.

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