Artificial intelligence technology behind ChatGPT was built in Iowa – with a lot of water

Article by Matt O’Brien and Hannah Fingerhut in AP News, September 9, 2023

This is how much water AI models consume.

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Screenshot of an AP news article discussing the environmental impact of AI technology, focusing on water usage.

The hidden environmental costs of the AI revolution

AI research, particularly the development of large language models such as ChatGPT, has led to a significant increase in global water consumption, according to Microsoft’s environmental report. The data centers require considerable amounts of water for cooling, which is particularly relevant for server infrastructure in hot climates such as Arizona.

Infrastructure in Iowa shows how siting and climate can affect resource needs, but there are concerns about the long-term impact on local water supplies and ecosystems.