(feeding the beast) (bigger) (not always better)

No, but it is beginning to have serious consequences.

Data centres now consume almost 20% of Ireland’s entire electricity production:

  • New data shows electricity consumption by data centres in Ireland jumped 31% in 2022 and is up nearly 400% since 2015. Data centres now account for 18% of Ireland’s total electricity usage.

  • The growth is being driven by major tech companies like Amazon building new data centres in Ireland. There are now over 75 centres operating or being built.

  • Data centres have become politically controversial, with the Green Party calling for them to reduce emissions but the Social Democrats criticising the government for letting consumption surge unchecked.

  • Ireland attracts data centres due to its low corporation tax, skilled workforce, and EU access. But the country is struggling to meet climate targets.

  • Environmental groups say the data centre boom is incompatible with Ireland’s renewable energy and emissions reduction goals. The electricity sector is set to miss 2025 and 2030 climate targets.

AI is a key driver of this growth and looks to become even more so, but…

And that’s just one chip, albeit a bit one. Two solutions:

  • Relocate the data centres close to renewable energy sources,
  • Focus on the development of AI models that consume less power.

Talking my own book: make new models that can run on compact Raspberry Pi Clusters :innocent:

I feel like this could be a very depressing sub-topic that I feel torn about keeping across.

Cheer up, it’s news (and reality) like this that focuses minds to think up solutions.

That is, doing it “smarter” not “harder” in this case.

That is very true, but I have also seen what happens when people fail to see how they can make a meaningful contribution to massive problems like this. Climate anxiety as just one example of this. I am now very careful when revealing the cold hard reality of the world we currently inhabit

Very good point. It’s a case of not scaring the horses. I would be very interested to have a deep dive on this some point, because I think I sometimes overlook how much the “fear factor” can weigh on people‘s minds.

I’m an optimist at heart, but we do face transitions that are unprecedented in the history of humanity. On the AI and biosphere fronts, with the nuclear threat arising from contemporary geopolitics coming a close third.

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Having that deep dive and sharing our experiences sounds great! I am keen.

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