The stratospheric growth of the AI functionality being incorporated into applications has led many experts to reveal grave concerns as to whether telcos are ready to handle the rapidly increasing demands. Tools that produce content such as ChatGPT are seeing a massive surge in computing power which is likely to have a huge impact on network capacity, energy, and the environment.
Lim May-Ann, director of the Fair Tech Institute, Access Partnership believes that awareness around the true cost of using AI needs to be communicated effectively.
“The challenge will lie in getting the general public to understand that accessing and using Generative AI – especially services which are “free to use” – do still assert a cost, that is to power demand and draw and therefore carbon emissions. Nasdaq has some initial research that has shown that just training the GenAI will consume 1287MWh, or what they describe as 121 US households’ worth of energy use in a year.
“Telcos will face pressures to upgrade their networks to prepare for the increased demand. This will be challenging for countries which have either just started or are in the middle of their capitalisation journey for 4G infrastructure roll-out and are not quite ready to invest in 5G networks yet.”