Microsoft and OpenAI uses Iowa’s water for ChatGPT

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Microsoft and OpenAI have been working together to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technology, including the ChatGPT language model. The cost of building this technology is not just financial, it also takes a lot of water.

In an environmental report, Microsoft revealed that its global water consumption spiked 34% from 2021 to 2022. The company attributes this increase to its AI research, including the development of ChatGPT.

To train ChatGPT, Microsoft and OpenAI used a powerful supercomputer in West Des Moines, Iowa. This supercomputer required a lot of water to cool down, and it is estimated that it used about 11.5 million gallons of water in July 2022 alone.

This water consumption has raised concerns from local officials in West Des Moines. The city’s water utility has said that it will only consider future data center projects from Microsoft if the company can demonstrate and implement technology to significantly reduce peak water usage.

Microsoft has said that it is working with the water utility to address these concerns. It adds that it is investing in research to measure AI’s energy and carbon footprint, and to make AI systems more efficient.

The sources for this piece include an article in APNews.


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