Here’s what Should be Prioritized as the Main Threat of AI

Most of the emphasis of the existential risk of AI is drawn to worker replacments and eventual AGI. However, I see much more in the short term a bigger threat AI is posing: that of GHG emissions.

In this paper, Strubell & al (2019) outline the hidden cost of machine learning (from inception to training and fine tuning) and found emissions for 1 model is about 360 tCo2. That is no insignificant amount. For comparison, the entire life of a car with fueling is about 70 tCo2.

The AI community is aware of this such as Mila Labs hosting an online tool on their website to calculate the carbon intensity of building and training ML models. As companies rush to incorporate AI into their businesses, emissions could balloon if the energy sources of AI aren’t clean.

To me, for the next decade at least, the threat of AI to contribute to climate change should be prioritized over concerns of AI governance.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on the subject!