Caution The AI sector may consume as much energy as the Dutch

Take Care Perhaps the AI industry uses as much electricity as the Dutch do.

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According to a recent research, the artificial intelligence (AI) sector may by 2027 use as much energy as the Netherlands as a nation.

Since ChatGPT exploded onto the market last year, major internet companies have been rushing to integrate AI-powered services.

They consume far more energy than traditional programs, which increases the energy cost of using the internet.

The report did note that if AI’s present expansion slows down, its potential environmental effect may be less than initially thought.

Numerous experts, including the author of the paper, argue that this kind of research is speculative since IT companies don’t release enough information to allow for precise forecasting.

But without a doubt, AI jobs demand more powerful hardware than conventional computer activities.

The analysis by Alex De Vries, a PhD candidate at the VU Amsterdam School of Business and Economics, is predicated on the assumption that a few key variables stay the same, including the rate of advancement in AI, the accessibility of AI chips, and the continuous operation of servers.

According to Mr. De Vries, Nvidia is anticipated to provide around 95% of the AI processing equipment needed by the industry.

Based on the anticipated volume of these computers by 2027, he was able to estimate that AI will use between 85 and 134 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power annually.

At the upper end, that is approximately the yearly power consumption of a small nation.

“In terms of power usage, you would be talking about the size of a nation like the Netherlands. You’re discussing around 0.5 percent of the world’s total power usage,” he said to BBC News.

Nvidia chose not to respond.

AI should only be applied in situations where it is truly necessary, according to Mr. De Vries’ research.

The journal Joule has published his peer-reviewed paper.

How much water and energy does AI require?
For AI systems to function, such as the massive language models behind well-known chatbots like Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, warehouses full of specialized computers, or data centers, are needed.

This implies that the equipment requires more water-intensive systems to keep cool and is more power-hungry than standard gear.

A little manual to assist you in understanding AI
The energy needed for cooling was not included in the research. Many large IT companies don’t measure this particular water or energy use. Among those urging the industry to be more open about it is Mr. de Vries.

However, there is no denying that demand for the AI-powered computers is skyrocketing, as is the energy required to keep those servers cool.

At the beginning of 2023, Danny Quinn, the CEO of the Scottish data center company DataVita, claimed his company was receiving “one or two enquiries a week” about using his facility to house AI gear. Now, he is receiving hundreds.

He also discussed how a rack with AI processors and one with regular servers used different amounts of energy.

Although it is still a significant undertaking, he continued, Scotland’s colder and wetter environment offered a natural benefit in helping the data centers keep equipment cool.

Microsoft, which is significantly investing in AI development, said in its most recent sustainability report that its water use increased by 34% between 2021 and 2022 to 6.4 million cubic meters, or about the size of 2,500 Olympic swimming pools.

Author of a book on artificial intelligence and its effects on the environment, Prof. Kate Crawford, claimed that the problem kept her up at night.

“These energy-intensive systems take enormous amounts of electricity and energy, but also enormous amounts of water to cool these gigantic AI supercomputers,” the speaker told the BBC in July. Therefore, the 21st century is likely to see the growth of a massive extractive sector.”

Recently, Google and American Airlines discovered that by utilizing an experimental AI tool to choose altitude, pilots may reduce the number of contrails (vapour trails) produced by aircraft by half. It is well recognized that contrails exacerbate global warming.

Attempts to replicate nuclear fusion, the process by which the Sun generates energy, are costing millions of dollars, and the US government is one of those involved.

A green power source that is endless would be a big game changer if this project were to succeed. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to accelerate research, which has advanced extremely slowly since the 1960s.

Science professor Brian Spears claimed in February of this year that he had employed artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast the outcome of an experiment that produced a breakthrough.


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