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Google’s AI search is a mindless energy hog

Google’s AI push is a recipe for planetary disaster, consuming as much electricity as Ireland. It’s not innovation, it’s a climate middle finger.

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Image: KnowTechie

In the rush to hype large language models, companies like Alphabet are sacrificing their former search glory on the altar of “innovation.” But this shift isn’t just a nuisance for users—it’s a climate disaster waiting to happen.

Every time Google’s AI regurgitates a barely coherent “snapshot” to a query like “how many rocks should I eat,” it’s guzzling down three watt-hours of electricity, reports Jacobin.

That’s ten times what a regular Google search would use, or about the same as chatting on a landline for an hour. Not that anyone should be doing either of those things.

Digiconomist’s Alex de Vries crunched the numbers, and the results are staggering. If Google added AI “answers” to every search, it could consume as much electricity as the entire country of Ireland. That’s a whole lot of juice just to tell people not to eat rocks.

But the environmental damage goes far beyond electricity. Google’s AI relies on massive data centers that gobble up water for cooling, often in water-stressed areas. 

Training a single AI model can belch out as much carbon as five cars over its entire lifetime—not exactly the green tech revolution we need.

As global temperatures smash records year after year, we should be scrambling to clean up our energy grid. But instead, Google’s AI is the equivalent of putting climate change in a blender and hitting puree.

This isn’t innovation—it’s a climate middle finger. AI’s carbon footprint is only just starting to come into focus, but one thing is clear: Google’s AI push is a recipe for planetary disaster.

So much for “don’t be evil.” When it comes to the climate, Google’s AI is pure malice.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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