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

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

Nobody asked for this AI search bullshit, Google. Not only are the AI generated responses demonstrably worse than normal, they’re infringing on intellectual property rights, killing traditional media, and—thanks to a new Jacobin report we now knowsoaking up gobs of electricity in the process. Artificial intelligence-powered search engines are an all-around bad idea, and a stop should be put to the whole thing as quickly as humanly possible. Google’s AI Overviews feature has only been operational for two months, but it’s already done a lot of harm and will only continue to get worse.

As it turns out, these AI search results require around ten times the energy to power them as a traditional Google search. According to research firm Digiconomist, adding AI-generated answers to all Google searches could approach the energy usage of the entire country of Ireland. Each search requires three watt-hours of electricity, which doesn’t sound like much at first glance. That’s more or less the same electricity used by an LED lightbulb in your home, if you left it on for an hour.

The problem arrives when you consider just how many Google searches are run in a day. According to Statista, Google averaged 8.5 billion searches per day in 2023, or 98,379 searches per second. If each AI-generated search requires 3 watt-hours of electricity, that’s a usage rate of 295,138.88 watt-hours, or 295.14 kilowatt-hours. The average electric vehicle sold in 2023 had a 40 kilowatt-hour battery onboard, meaning the electricity used by AI search for a single second could have been used to power about seven and a half average electric cars.

If your brain wants a bigger number, that’s 442.7 EV charges per minute, 26,562.5 EV charges per hour, or 637,500 EV charges per day. And, it is worth mentioning, these numbers only account for Google’s electricity use related to AI-generated search results. AI and Large Language Models are energy intensive and have been used for assloads of dumb fucking shit so far this decade.

Thank god we’re all turning down our air conditioning, biking or walking instead of driving, and buying high-efficiency appliances so our energy use is low enough that Google’s awful search robots can use it instead.

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