Training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars in their lifetimes

File this under "not at all surprising". Note, though, that the model that is 5x as pollutative as a car has 213M parameters and includes a neural architecture search—it's iterating through lots of models to find the optimal one. This is a particularly expensive model to train (and generates a particularly clickbait-y headline!). The other models with data presented have far less impact.

The carbon footprint of compute is an important topic, but it's not one that I'm sure there is much to do about as individuals. There are a well-known set of policy options (carbon pricing, renewable incentives, etc.) that we in the US seem largely unwilling to use but are increasingly being adopted throughout the world. There is already a large financial incentive to reduce spend on compute to train a model, and that will proceed as fast as the research allows; the dial we have more control over is how carbon-intensive the compute is.


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