Aligning artificial intelligence with climate change mitigation

There is great interest in how the growth of artificial intelligence and machine learning may affect global GHG emissions. However, such emissions impacts remain uncertain, owing in part to the diverse mechanisms through which they occur, posing difficulties for measurement and forecasting. Here we introduce a systematic framework for describing the effects of machine learning (ML) on GHG emissions, encompassing three categories: computing-related impacts, immediate impacts of applying ML and system-level impacts. Using this framework, we identify priorities for impact assessment and scenario analysis, and suggest policy levers for better understanding and shaping the effects of ML on climate change mitigation.

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