Gen AI Might burn the planet

The very high costs of Gen AI (especially AI Art)

3 min readDec 4, 2023

Before you get all gung-ho about Gen AI, make sure you consider the environmental impacts.

A fantastic new paper- Power Hungry Processing: Watts Driving the Cost of AI Deployment?- sheds light on the energy costs of running Gen AI Models. The research brings concrete numbers to what many have long speculated: the energy costs of deploying LLM costs would put a giant dent in our environment.

“We find that multi-purpose, generative architectures are orders of magnitude more expensive than task-specific systems for a variety of tasks, even when controlling for the number of model parameters. We conclude with a discussion around the current trend of deploying multi-purpose generative ML systems, and caution that their utility should be more intentionally weighed against increased costs in terms of energy and emissions.”

Keep in mind the research likely we must also consider the costs associated with data pipelines, indexing and other energy-intensive processes that

My first impressions- this is yet another argument for why organizations should consider rearchitecting AI systems bottom-up. Instead of running after the biggest/fanciest model being used for most use cases: build a system of system of smaller task-specific expert models that handle 90% of the operations. The more specific the model, the more we can reduce the costs of training and inference. Good data/feature engineering can really make up for a large difference in model capabilities.

Another observation- This is not a good look for multi-modal RAG with documents/charts, which will rely extensively on generating/processing images. For some design work, we might need to explore alternatives for design generation. My guess is something like strong profiling combined with Evolutionary Algorithms might be worthwhile for improving designs long term


For more details, sign up for my free AI Newsletter, AI Made Simple. AI Made Simple-

If you liked this article and wish to share it, please refer to the following guidelines.

If you find my writing useful and would like to support my writing- please consider becoming a premium member of my cult by subscribing below. Subscribing gives you access to a lot more content and enables me to continue writing. This will cost you 400 INR (5 USD) monthly or 4000 INR (50 USD) per year and comes with a 60-day, complete refund policy. Understand the newest developments and develop your understanding of the most important ideas, all for the price of a cup of coffee.

Support AI Made Simple

Reach out to me

Use the links below to check out my other content, learn more about tutoring, reach out to me about projects, or just to say hi.

Small Snippets about Tech, AI and Machine Learning over here

AI Newsletter-

My grandma’s favorite Tech Newsletter-

Check out my other articles on Medium. :

My YouTube:

Reach out to me on LinkedIn. Let’s connect:

My Instagram:

My Twitter:




Writing about AI, Math, the Tech Industry and whatever else interests me. Join my cult to gain inner peace and to support my crippling chocolate milk addiction