Green Algorithms for Artificial Intelligence

The National Plan for Green Algorithms is an initiative under the government’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (ENIA) to reward sustainable AI applications. In this way, the transformative power of AI in industry and economics is embraced while recognizing the impact of its use on the carbon footprint.

“Every time an algorithm is run, there is a large amount of energy consumption that needs to be accounted for. We must not forget the impact of AI on the carbon footprint,” he assured. Asuncion Gomez PerezVice Rector for Research, Innovation and Promotion at the Politecnico de Madrid (UPM) and Head of the AI ​​​​Digital Innovation Hub in a thematic session organized by MIDE.

The French mathematician warned that between 20 and 50 percent of global electricity consumption could be attributed to digital technology in 2030 Cedric Villani in a report on AI published last March, an estimate that other experts say is exaggerated. On the other hand, according to data from the consulting firm McKensey, the ICT market was responsible for 3% to 4% of all the world’s CO2 emissions in 2020. While data centers are being built in the USA alone, in which the algorithms are trained, they account for 1.8% of the country’s electricity consumption.

Green AI Algorithms

Cabal aside, the truth is that it is desirable to reduce the environmental impact of digitization and AI, which already have a sustainable version: the “Green IA”.

The so-called green algorithms were developed to use AI in a more inclusive and respectful way with the planet and to maximize the energy efficiency of AI infrastructures. Green IA proposes reducing energy consumption by striking a balance between the amount of data required to train a model, the amount of time it takes to train, and the number of iterations to optimize its parameters. It is also important to know if a renewable energy source was used in the creation and application of these models.

In the case of Spain, the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (ENIA) has six strategic axes and it is the sixth that refers to this issue when it comes to establishing an ethical and regulatory framework that will protect the rights of individuals and of groups guarantees social issues and sustainability as the backbone. The measure would be flanked by the establishment of observatories to assess the social impact of algorithms, the development of a national quality seal for AI and the preparation of the Bill of Digital Rights which states that “the development of technology and digital environments must be geared towards environmental sustainability and commitment to future generations”.

The National Plan for Green Algorithms has not yet been officially launched, but aims to stimulate the study of new strategies to develop and run models and algorithms to reduce energy costs.

Algorithms, artificial intelligence, sustainability