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Human and Environmental Impact

Luke Conroy and Anne Fehres & AI4Media / Better Images of AI / Models Built From Fossils / CC-BY 4.0  

Clarote & AI4Media / Better Images of AI / Labour/Resources / CC-BY 4.0 

A significant amount of development is needed to create the models used in generative AI tools, requiring huge amounts of human effort and energy. Concerns have been raised about OpenAI using underpaid and exploited workers. Training and deploying large language models are also energy intensive. It is unclear exactly what the carbon footprint is, but it is likely to be significant. 

Luccioni, S (2023). Read the article “The mounting human and environmental costs of generative AI” and take notes on the key issues it highlights around the impacts of large language models. As you read, consider: 

  • What are some of the main environmental costs involved in training ever-larger AI models? 
  • How might the trend toward bigger, more opaque models owned by tech giants be problematic? 
  • What human labour exploitation concerns around AI model development does the article discuss?