What We’re Reading

Is ChatGPT Financially Viable?

The technology uses a lot of energy but who will pay for it?

Adrienne Gibbs
Published in
3 min readOct 13, 2023


Hi everybody,

Did you know that ChatGPT-4 recently celebrated a half-birthday and that overall, November will mark the one-year anniversary of the language model’s open launch? In that time, talk of artificial intelligence has trickled down even to elementary school, where teachers remind parents that kids should write their own book reports and not ask for AI help.

There’s a lot of hand-wringing about this and the “feared” AI-aided death of intellect for the masses, but Massachusetts Institute of Technology instructor Mark A. Herschberg posits that technology innovations could lead society to adapt, perhaps for the better.

“We educate people for 10 to 20 years, [from] K through 12 and optionally college, and then expect them to work for decades to come with no additional training,” Herschberg writes. “This is not realistic in the twenty-first century. Instead, we need to recognize that there will be periods of retraining throughout someone’s career.”

This tracks globally. Cities around the world are funding innovation hubs and universities are trying to cash in on the thousands-per-week, no-degree-needed coding bootcamp trend. Why wouldn’t they?

On the flip side, according to Professor Enrique Dans, ChatGPT is quite expensive and possibly unsustainable.

“ChatGPT costs more than $700,000 a day to run: every time someone asks it a question, the company loses money, either because it’s a free user, or because it is a paying user getting their money’s worth,” writes the IE Business School professor. “Due to its myriad and mounting costs ChatGPT has been described as a pact with the devil. An analysis of the costs of running large language models (LLMs) shows that running them is simply not financially viable…”

As the quintessentially wise, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Nene Leakes might say: “bloop.” Apparently, nothing is free.

Will ChatGPT walk it back? Can AI offset its usage of water and energy? How much are you willing to pay for access to large language models? If you write about the financial future of new AI, tag me in your story so I can read what you have to say.

Thanks for reading,

Adrienne Gibbs, Director of Creator Growth @ Medium

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Adrienne Gibbs

Director of Content @Medium. Award-winning journalist. Featured in a Beyoncé reel. Before now? EBONY, Netflix, Sun-Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe.