Briefly informed: Energy-hungry AI, record fine, Seagate, layoffs, Atari

AI has a mixed climate footprint. In addition to electricity, the data centers used for training and operation require another resource that is no less valuable: water. And consumption should not be underestimated, write the researchers at the University of California in Riverside in a recent preprint paper. “The training of GPT-3 in one of Microsoft’s modern high-performance data centers in the USA could have used around 700,000 liters of water,” it says – which corresponds to the production of 320 Tesla. And for every conversation with ChatGPT, which comprises an average of between 20 and 50 questions, a good half a liter of drinking water is wasted, the researchers estimate. Since companies like OpenAI, Microsoft and Google do not provide any official information about the electricity and water consumption of their AI applications, practically all studies on this topic are based on estimates based on various key technical data.

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Seagate supplied hard drives to Chinese manufacturer Huawei from August 2020 to September 2021, despite Huawei having previously landed on the US embargo list. This decision is now costing Seagate dearly: The company is paying a fine of 300 million US dollars to the US Department of Commerce. This is the largest fine ever imposed by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) within the US Department of Commerce. The settlement with Seagate came before a court hearing. It is estimated that Seagate has sold over 7 million hard drives to Huawei for more than US$1 billion, making a profit of nearly US$150 million. The penalty payment would therefore be twice as high as the profit.

Meta Platforms sent out many more notices this week. These are part of the layoffs of 10,000 people announced in March and now also affect employees with technical tasks. A month ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced restructuring and layoffs in technical groups for the end of April. These are now a week earlier. The Facebook parent did not explain how many technicians and engineers are now leaving the company. The Washington Post reports that around 4,000 employees were laid off this week.

Atari upgrades its games catalog with over a hundred classic retro games originally released in the 80’s and 90’s. The package includes titles from Accolade, Infogrames and Microprose studios, the game company said. The series “Bubsy”, “Hardball”, “Demolition Racer” and “1942: Pacific Air War” are specifically named. Atari has not published a complete list of games. “Many of these titles are part of Atari history,” company boss Wade Rosen said in a press release. Fans could expect many of these games to be sold new, both as download and disc versions. “In some cases, these games are even ported to modern consoles,” Rosen said.


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