An AI that tracks digital ads’ energy consumption could help tech companies and advertisers to act more sustainably


18 November 2022

Laptop screens showing various website

Displaying adverts and running code that measures their performance place extra energy demands on devices

Ian McKinnell/Alamy

Many internet users are shown thousands of adverts a day, and all those ads use a huge amount of energy, say researchers.

“Online advertising consumes more than we think, comparable to a small country,” says Patricia Callejo at the UC3M-Santander Big Data Institute in Spain.

Callejo and her colleagues worked with Cavai, an advertising tech company based in Norway, to develop CarbonTag, a system to help account for energy use and any associated greenhouse gas emissions …

Article amended on 18 November 2022

We clarified the study’s assumptions about the number of internet users and how many ads they see.

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