Questions for ‘To ‘green’ AI, scientists are making it less resource-hungry’ 

An animated image showing movement straight down a corridor of servers with blinking lights. Double doors are at the end of the passageway.

Data centers are the buildings where computers do all the work it takes to keep our digital lives running. They consume around one to two percent of the world’s electricity, according to the International Energy Agency.

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To accompany To ‘green’ AI, scientists are making it less resource-hungry’  


Before Reading:

  1. Do you think the rapid rise of AI technology is a largely positive or negative change? Give one example of how AI technology might improve someone’s life. What are some negative changes that could come from such technology?
  2. What is your favorite animal? In one sentence, explain what you like about this animal. How might climate change affect this animal negatively? What are two specific ways that human activity can drive changes in the climate?

During Reading:

  1. Why do the supercomputers described by Vijay Gadepally require so much fresh water?
  2. How does the energy needed to answer a question using ChatGPT compare to that doing a Google search, based on some new research estimates?
  3. How is the rise of AI technology negatively impacting the global climate, according to the story?
  4. What does the acronym LLM stand for? What are LLMs?
  5. Regarding AI technology, what are “parameters”? Describe the relationship between the number of parameters that an AI model contains and its size.
  6. Alex de Vries carried out a thought experiment to gauge the energy use of Google searches. Under what hypothetical conditions would those searches consume as much power as Ireland?
  7. How do AI models such as CLOVER help to address the AI energy problem?
  8. Give an example of how tech companies might reduce their climate impact by choosing to build data centers at particular sites.
  9. Despite its extensive wind farms, Arizona would not be an ideal location for a data center. Why? Identify at least one issue that might arise from building data centers in an area such as Arizona.
  10. According to Priya Donti, how might large tech companies help society reach climate goals? Give one example.

After Reading:

  1. This story points out that “there’s only so much green energy to go around” and “using it for AI means not using it for something else.” In your own words, describe what is meant by this observation. What kind of changes have we made in the past to address this problem? What changes might be made in the future?
  2. Now that you’ve read this story, describe an instance of video games inspiring a new approach to an old problem. What does this story tell us about the value of diversity in research and development? How might having people of diverse backgrounds, hobbies and experiences help to develop better technologies?