ChatGPT Gets Thirsty Every 20 to 50 Questions 

ChatGPT drinks a bottle of fresh water for every 20 to 50 questions asked, as described in the study published on September 8th in the journal Nature Communications titled “The Water Footprint of Generative AI,” highlighting ChatGPT’s water usage.

A robot, drinking water?!? A robot, with That was the only thing it lacked just to be more human. Yes, that happened. 

The story gets more interesting after knowing that it “consumes about 500 milliliters of water for every 20 to 50 questions users ask.” Shaolej Wu, a researcher estimated in his study at the University of California, Riverside. 

“While a 500ml bottle of water might not seem too much, the total combined water footprint for inference is still extremely large, considering ChatGPT’s billions of users,” the researchers said. 700,000 liters of water have been consumed by Microsoft, while training GPT-3 alone, scientists estimated. 

Generative AI systems, such as ChatGPT, can only consume fresh water. Chlorinated water will damage the system. First, the water is used to cool down the company’s data centers from where they are accommodated. The second aspect is that water is managed to power the computing power that trains and runs the AI systems. So, the more it generates answers, the more power is required, the thirstier it becomes. 

In the long run, the technology is becoming more popular, resulting in bigger water consumption of generative AI systems. It is worth noting that this will most likely increase with time. A matter that should raise questions around its environmental impact. Applications that generate AI-powered texts, images, and videos are being used extensively by these generative systems. Accordingly, a lot of energy is being required, and is often generated from fossil fuels, hence producing greenhouse emissions contributing to climate change. Besides energy consumption, water consumption can be noteworthy, particularly in areas with limited water resources, and the most evident example would be Africa.  

It is extremely important to be aware of the impact ChatGPT’s water usage has on the sustainability of both the energy and the water consumption levels, leaving it in a complex situation. Ethical considerations are raising eyebrows on how the benefits of ChatGPT outweigh environmental costs. For that reason, it’s vital to use energy-efficient generative AI systems to mitigate the usage of it.

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