Google AI Uses Enough Electricity in 1 Second to Charge 7 Electric Cars

Google’s AI Overviews feature is still in its infancy, having only been active for two months; however, it is already raising major red flags. A recent Jacobin article highlights that the AI-driven responses are not only treading on intellectual property rights— thus denting the prospects of traditional media — but also burning an astonishing amount of electricity. The energy consumption associated with these AI-derived search findings is ten times more than what a standard Google search would take.

Every AI-created search outcome gobbles up about three watt-hours of power, a figure akin to an hour’s glow from an LED bulb. At first glance, it might not appear notable. But when visualizing the vast sea of searches carried out daily, the gravity looms into view. For in 2023 alone, Google was averaging 8.5 billion searches each day — that translates to 98,379 queries every single tick of the second hand. With each AI-guided search siphoning three watt-hours from the reserves, our energy expenditure clocks in at around 295,138.88 watt-hours per second (or simply put: 295.14 kilowatt-hours). Such is the rate at which we are burning through our digital queries; this is why even those seemingly infinitesimal drops matter in the grand scheme of bytes and electricity traded every second on the information superhighway.

To put this in perspective, the typical 2023 electric vehicle (EV) sold has a battery capacity of 40 kWh. Thus, around seven and a half ordinary electric automobiles may be powered by the electricity needed by AI search for a single second. These figures when expanded show that the amount of electricity used by Google’s AI search is equivalent to charging 442.7 EVs every minute, 26,562.5 EVs per hour, or 637,500 EVs per day.

These data demonstrate how energy-intensive AI and huge language models are, as they only take into consideration Google’s electricity use related to AI-generated search results. The significant energy requirements of artificial intelligence (AI) technology pose issues as society works to reduce energy usage by implementing high-efficiency appliances and alternate modes of transportation. Whether the advantages of AI search engines exceed their negative effects on the environment must be carefully considered, especially in light of the frequently subpar quality of the provided results. In order to balance technological developments with the need for a sustainable future, this issue must be addressed.

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