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The AI ​​Secret Few People Know About Is Data Centers

01.07.2024
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According to A. Kranz

Technology is always changing the global geopolitical balance of power, both militarily and economically. Cryptocurrency poses a potential threat to Washington’s favorite means of pressure: economic sanctions. For example, Russian agents use Tether to circumvent sanctions and buy parts and weapons for drones. Ultimately, Russia will be able to reap the benefits of a stable, internationally recognized currency without having to play by the rules dictated by the United States. This sets a precedent that has been largely ignored by establishment politicians on both sides. The National Security Agency has the ability to monitor some of these transactions. However, they cannot interfere with the flow of currency, which is particularly puzzling to lawmakers who have at best a superficial understanding of this particular way of doing business.

Artificial intelligence has created new forecasting and early warning capabilities, such as predicting elections, crop growth, revenue flows, and military movements, which have significant strategic and military implications. Small AI-connected and integrated military units are the future of effective warfare, and many countries are starting to take notice. However, there is a serious discrepancy between the perceived impact of these technologies and the actual implementation of them. More mundane energy consumption issues go largely unnoticed by both leaders and the general public when discussing these new technologies and their impact on national security. In particular, there are specific infrastructure needs for anyone who wants to use these tools.

AI is poised to become the oil of the future, and data centers are the oil fields where it will be created. We are seeing the proliferation of AI in almost every industry and in the near future, these industries will depend on AI for their daily functioning. The larger the data centers, the more powerful the AI ​​model. However, unlike almost every other business, they require only one basic resource: electricity - and in huge quantities.

How much energy will these technologies require? Currently, mining and maintaining Bitcoin consumes between 67 and 240 terawatt-hours, or between 0.2 and 0.9 percent of total global energy consumption per year. When it comes to AI, the computing power required to use it is doubling every 100 days and is projected to account for 4 percent of global electricity demand by 2028. Enormous energy needs will mean that the driving force behind tech companies choosing their centers of operations will be cheap energy rather than cheap labor.

Hardware manufacturing is unlikely to move out of East Asia, but data centers powering artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies will be built in regions with an abundance of cheap and reliable electricity. Land costs are practically negligible compared to the costs of electricity and equipment. The importance of these data centers is often lost in the sheen of the product appeal they make possible.

In future conflicts, data centers will become the central nervous system of any associated fighting force, and their defense or destruction will be a major factor in determining the outcome of conflicts. Data collected by every soldier, drone, aircraft, tank and surveillance system must be compiled and interpreted into one picture of the entire battlefield that commanders can use to make decisions. Currently, the storage and computing power required to perform these tasks can only be found in data centers. However, mobile data centers are still a work in progress.

The good news is that AI, and to a lesser extent cryptocurrencies, have only recently begun to emerge as a widespread technology. However, it all starts with the education of elected officials. Fear shapes the conversation around cryptocurrencies and AI, largely due to a lack of understanding and education. Education should be the focus because understanding will suppress the fear of the unknown.

 

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