Data is a dominant image of this era. It has transformed our way of living. Today, data is everywhere. It is well known for its advantages, but have you ever wondered about the repercussions on the environment? In today’s social media-centric world, we produce more data than the previous 5000 years of human evolution. However, this may not sound like a concern, and while that thought process is understandable; this is an argument worth discussing. The apps on your mobile phone have a physical location on earth. It is known as a ‘data center.’ So, the question is Does Data Harm The Environment?
These centers are controlled at lower temperatures to enable internet productivity. Maintaining these data centers requires an enormous amount of power. It is predicted that 3 years from now, data centers may account for 10% of the global electricity usage. Lately, Artificial Intelligence(AI) has gained a remarkable amount of attention due to its impact and future potential in the technology sector.
However, AI consumes an immense amount of power. The training of Artificial Intelligence drains massive amounts of energy. Only one AI model can utilize up to 284 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which accounts for approximately five times of lifetime emission from an average car. It is important to remember that AI is still ‘evolving’, the future will require even more.
AI is an impactful contributor to climate change. So what are our actions? Cloud service providers like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are operating based on reducing their carbon footprint. Google created an AI model that reduced their energy consumption at their data centers by 35%, and Microsoft promised to be carbon negative in 8 years. Just like any other global situation, we, as in society, can also contribute to making a change. Keep deleting your archives and unwanted data regularly.
Data centers store your cluttered files and emails as well. According to a survey, if every person in France deleted at least 50 archives or their spam folder, they could save enough energy to power the Eiffel Tower for 42 years! Climate Change is mankind’s most threatening crisis today. We need impressive ideas and solutions for tomorrow. Make small changes in your lifestyle and make a greater difference.
This is also a reason technology is turning towards Cloud computing. Cloud computing is environment-friendly. According to most organizations, it is the most viable option today. Instead of companies using their hardware in data centers, they can use the Cloud to store their data.
Moreover, Microsoft took a step ahead and organised research where they tried to switch mobile applications to the Cloud, which would further save carbon footprints. Switching to the Cloud can save 87% of IT energy, and it looks like the world is trying to make the Cloud ‘Home’. Furthermore, to decrease the energy consumed, Companies are coming up with ideas to use renewable power sources. If the Cloud can be operated through a renewable source, Cloud computing can save billions of dollars in energy costs and also deduct carbon emissions by millions of metric tons.