Student News for Horizon Honors Secondary School

The Horizon Sun

Student News for Horizon Honors Secondary School

The Horizon Sun

Student News for Horizon Honors Secondary School

The Horizon Sun

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Weather Data Source: 30 tage Phoenix wetter

AI Needs Water to Function, and It’s Hurting the Environment

AI requires staggering amounts of water to function, which has served to increase the strain on natural water sources.
Data and AI servers lined up.
Data and AI servers lined up.

The advanced artificial intelligence (AI) servers in charge of technological development need an alarming amount of water. This has become so large an issue that it has begun to affect the environment. 

According to OEDC.AI, just one AI server requires about the energy consumption of a house, due to its graphic processing units (GPU). Regardless of the advancements in the technology, they still need the energy to power the AI. This leads to a problem with overheating in the servers. The large amounts of energy produced by the servers create heat, and the best solution for this heat is using fresh water to cool the servers down. The way that they consume water is divided into two categories: onsite server cooling, and offsite electricity generation. 

Onsite server cooling is the most commonly used strategy via cooling towers. These towers need large amounts of water to function. According to Cooling Tower Products, cooling towers combine water and air to lower the temperature of the water, thus cooling down the servers’ temperature. 

The second way water is consumed because of the servers is offsite electricity generation. The process requires water to cool down thermal and nuclear power plants, which generate the electricity for the servers. 

According to Futurism, AI bots like ChatGPT consume 500 milliliters of water for every five to 50 prompts or questions asked. Ever since the introduction of AI, the need to supply the servers with water has increased greatly with it. OEDC.AI says that in 2022, the onsite water consumption for Google increased by 20 percent, while in 2021, Microsoft has also seen a 34 percent increase in water usage. They require large amounts of freshwater; freshwater is normally sourced from places like rivers and lakes which are also most animals’ primary source of water. 

In addition, after being consumed by the AI servers, water is heated, which can harm the ecosystem in many ways. For example, aquatic animals are harmed when bodies of water like lakes are introduced to warm water too quickly. When very warm water is too suddenly added to a body of water, it causes stress and damage to the fauna, possibly ruining the natural balance of ecosystems. 

If not stopped, AI’s water consumption will continue to rise as the demand for more innovative technologies continues to grow. This situation will only worsen if preventative measures are not put in place.

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