HomeMARKETSGoogle Emissions Rise on AI Integration as Apple OpenAI Ties Deepen

Google Emissions Rise on AI Integration as Apple OpenAI Ties Deepen

Artificial intelligence is a revolutionary technology sending shockwaves across the globe. While the focus has been on its positive attributes, given its impact in enhancing how various things work, it also has its fair share of adverse effects. While there have been concerns that the technology could lead to job losses in some sectors, it poses significant environmental danger.

Google Emissions

A confirmation that Alphabet’s Google emissions increased by almost half over the past five years as the unit continues infusing technology into its products is sure to rattle environmentalists. That’s because it goes against the tech giant commitment to trim its emissions by 2030. In a new report, Google says its greenhouse emissions rose to 14.3 million metric tons of carbon in 2023, 48% higher than the levels recorded in 2019.

The increased carbon emission has everything to do with higher energy consumption at Google’s data centres and increased emissions for the supply chain. Integrating various AI models into data centres has increased energy consumption and emissions.

Google is only starting to integrate AI into its core products to enhance its demand and competitive edge. Therefore, it could face significant challenges in its push to eliminate emissions from its operations by 2030

The surge in energy needs from Silicon Valley’s relentless pursuit of AI development could disrupt the clean energy transition strategies and the sustainability objectives of tech giants worth billions. In certain nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Ireland, and Malaysia, the electricity needed to power all the data centres they intend to construct to their maximum capacity could surpass the renewable energy resources available.

Google is not the only tech giant highlighting AI’s quick expansion as a barrier to meeting environmental targets. In May, Microsoft Corp. disclosed that its carbon emissions had risen by 30% since 2020 as the company increasingly focused on AI. This rise made it more challenging for the company to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, compared to when it set its target of becoming carbon-negative.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that tech giants did not anticipate artificial intelligence would trigger a substantial energy demand when setting environmental goals. The fact that increasing energy demands could force companies to tweak their goals.

Apple OpenAI Pact

Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) is strengthening its ties with Microsoft-backed OpenAI by gaining an observer role on the AI startup’s board. Head of Apple’s App Store Phil Schiller has been appointed for the observer role but won’t be serving as a full-fledged director. The confirmation comes from Apple confirming ChatGPT will be available in its iOS products.

The observer role permits the Apple representative to participate in OpenAI board meetings without the authority to vote or perform other duties of a director. Nonetheless, observers are allowed to understand the company’s decision-making process.

Allowing Microsoft and Apple to attend board meetings could lead to challenges for these tech behemoths, which have historically been competitors and collaborators. Some OpenAI board meetings will likely cover future AI projects between OpenAI and Microsoft, a topic that Microsoft might wish to keep Schiller out of. Observers are often expected to comply and leave meetings during discussions deemed confidential.


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