Chris Julien bij Nieuwsuur
Nieuwsuur ©

Chris Julien on Nieuwsuur: AI devours electricity

The training and use of artificial intelligence (AI) consume enormous amounts of electricity. We need to take this into account when using home assistants, for example, but also when considering what we'll use AI for.

Nieuwsuur visited the Waag to speak with Chris Julien, a researcher at Waag in the field of ecology and AI. Chris is also doing his PhD at Utrecht University on AI and ethics and is one of the spokesmen of Extinction Rebellion in The Netherlands. 

Today, part of the artwork 'Anatomy of an AI System' hangs in the Theatrum Anatomicum in the Waag, where bodies used to be dissected. The artwork by Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler is an anatomical map of the human work required to make an Amazon Echo system work.

There is often a lot of human manual labour involved with AI, but training and using AI models also consumes an incredible amount of power: by telling Alexa to turn off the light, you consume as much power as if you left a lamp on for an hour. How this should and can be done differently is shown in Nieuwsuur's item.