Security fencing around the Google Cloud data center ahead of its ceremonial opening in Hanau, Germany, on Friday, October 6th, 2023. | Photo by Alex Kraus / Bloomberg via Getty Images

If every search on Google used AI similar to ChatGPT, it might burn through as much electricity annually as the country of Ireland. Why? Adding generative AI to Google Search increases its energy use more than tenfold, according to a new analysis.

The paper published today in the journal Joule starts to paint a picture of what AI’s environmental impact might be as it starts to permeate into seemingly every nook and cranny of pop culture and work life. Generative AI requires powerful servers, and the worry is that all that computing power could make data centers’ energy consumption and carbon footprint balloon.

The new analysis was written by Alex de Vries, a researcher who has called attention to pollution stemming from crypto mining…

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