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24 Sep, 2023
1 min time to read

AI-based systems such as ChatGPT, BLOOM, DALL-E2, and Midjourney are more environmentally friendly than humans when it comes to creating literary and artistic works, according to a study titled "The Carbon Emissions of Writing and Illustrating Are Lower for AI than for Humans."

The research, conducted by teams from the University of California, Irvine, MIT, the University of Kansas School of Law, and others, compared the carbon emissions generated by AI and humans in writing and illustration tasks.

It is claimed that in order to assess the environmental impacts of AI activities, the study considered the energy consumed by AI systems during the learning phase as well as the operational energy consumption.

The study showed a significant difference in carbon dioxide emissions: AI creating texts and images emits 3-4 orders of magnitude less CO2 into the atmosphere than a human working manually or using a computer.

For example, BLOOM was found to be 1,500 times less impactful than a US resident creating one page of text, while ChatGPT was 1,100 times less impactful. In illustration tasks, AI image creation produced 310-2,900 times fewer CO2 emissions per image than human creators.

The study recognizes a number of assumptions, such as the assumption that content created by AI is of sufficient quality to be used as intended. The study also notes that AI capabilities vary widely and there are tasks beyond its current capabilities.

In addition, the study recognizes that human carbon footprints arise independently of human creativity and that alternative activities may affect emissions in different ways.