All posts tagged: lower costs

This Is Where the AI Race Goes Next

This Is Where the AI Race Goes Next

Artificial intelligence can appear to be many different things—a whole host of programs with seemingly little common ground. Sometimes AI is a conversation partner, an illustrator, a math tutor, a facial-recognition tool. But in every incarnation, it is always, always a machine, demanding almost unfathomable amounts of data and energy to function. AI systems such as ChatGPT operate out of buildings stuffed with silicon computer chips. To build bigger machines—as Microsoft, Google, Meta, Amazon, and other tech companies would like to do—you need more resources. And our planet is running out of them. The computational power needed to train top AI programs has doubled every six months over the past decade and may soon become untenable. According to a recent study, AI programs could consume roughly as much electricity as Sweden by 2027. GPT-4, the most powerful model currently offered to consumers by OpenAI, was by one estimate 100 times more demanding to train than GPT-3, which was released just four years ago. Google recently introduced generative AI into its search feature, and may have …

The IRA Helped Me Break Up With Fossil Fuels

The IRA Helped Me Break Up With Fossil Fuels

Last April, I decided to break up with my gas company. It wasn’t me; it was them. Like so many other fossil-fuel companies, SoCalGas was lobbying against clean energy while it continued to spew carbon pollution into the atmosphere. Yet here I was, an academic who had devoted my life to advancing clean energy, still paying them money, month after month. I’d had enough. But like a divorce after a long marriage, the process was even more complicated than I had thought. I had to remove all the appliances running on gas and swap them for clean, electric machines. Goodbye gas furnace. Goodbye gas stove. Goodbye gas fireplace. And good riddance. SoCalGas wasn’t my sole energy provider, but I vowed to go one step further and run my home without burning any fossil fuels at all. In addition to my home renovation, I was also working on a much bigger decarbonization project last year: getting a climate bill out of Congress and onto President Joe Biden’s desk. Those efforts were repeatedly stymied—until out of nowhere, …