Greenpeace Study Influences Google to Stop AI-Led Gas Exploration
According to a story on OneZero, Medium.com’s tech publication, a study by Greenpeace on the critical use of AI for fossil fuel extraction convinced Google to end its efforts to secure AI development contracts for oil and gas exploration.
The Greenpeace Report entitled “Oil in the Cloud: How Tech Companies Are Helping Big Oil Profit from Climate Destruction,” details the impact:
“Despite the biggest cloud companies’ commitments to address climate change, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all have connections to some of the world’s dirtiest oil companies for the explicit purpose of getting more oil and gas out of the ground and onto the market faster and cheaper.”
Continued expansion of oil and gas exploitation by these companies, aided by tech companies, will make it impossible to reach goals to limit global warming, according to the report.
A story on CNBC.com said a Google spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that the company “will not … build custom AI/ML algorithms to facilitate upstream extraction in the oil and gas industry.” In addition to Google, tech behemoths Microsoft, and Amazon use AI and warehouse servers to help Shell, BP and ExxonMobil to locate and retrieve oil and gas deposits.
“In total, the oil and gas sector is expected to spend $1.3 billion on cloud computing in 2020, according to data from HG Insights. ‘Google Cloud is only a small percentage of this aggregate spend,’ said the Google spokesperson.”
Google’s $65 million in revenues from oil and gas companies represents only 1% of its income. Google maintains a “reputation for being one of the greenest large tech firms in the world,” according to the CNBC story.
“Unlike other tech giants, it has been carbon neutral since 2007 by using strategies like buying renewable energy to match its use of non-renewable energy.”
Amazon has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040, while Microsoft has pledged to be carbon negative by 2030. Greenpeace points out that Amazon has a long way to go if it means to achieve its goals. Amazon has a 33% market share, Microsoft has 18% and Google has 8%.
“For us, it’s pretty simple,” Greenpeace researcher and report co-author Elizabeth Jardim told OneZero. “Accelerating oil extraction is not an application tech companies should be using A.I. for at all.”
read more at cnbc.com
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