back to article Arm CEO warns AI's power appetite could devour 25% of US electricity by 2030

Arm CEO Rene Haas cautions that if AI continues to get more powerful without boosts in power efficiency, datacenters could consume extreme amounts of electricity. Haas estimates that while US power consumption by AI datacenters sits at a modest four percent, he expects the industry to trend towards 20 to 25 percent usage of …

  1. Filippo Silver badge

    The Matrix has ideas on this topic.

  2. Zolko Silver badge

    peak humanity

    Consume 25% of available electricity resources to make fake cat images ? I fear that God will declare shortly that the Humanity experiment has failed and he needs to come up with something better

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: peak humanity

      God is working on that as speak!

      Seen the weather lately?

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: peak humanity

        What weather?

        This kind of weather?

        I fear apocalypse more from the political climate than the climate climate (although the latter exacerbates the former)

  3. ecofeco Silver badge
    Mushroom

    All to the benefit of...

    ... nobody but the rich.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All to the benefit of...

      The ECHR - European Court of Human Rights will judge in all its wisdom " This AI power appetite ... Violated Human Rights "

      joke apart - it will be interesting to see how cheap, stable, massive electricity in a industrial cluster/region with massive use of AI (in all fields from small to big) will maximize wealth creating vs a cluster who is behind the AI curve/hype or gets problems with scaling up its cheap electricity output... (example German)

  4. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Parallel article in ElReg today about AI crashing democracy and causing wars.

    So would that be 25% of remaining electricity on the ruins of civilisation?

    With most prompts going along the line of "suggest alternative preparations for cooking weeds and fellow humans" and "how to prevent prion diseases from excessive cannibalism"

  5. Andrew Hodgkinson

    Wait, so...

    ...if we use EVs, that's going to destroy the entire grid. But AI can come along and use 1/4 of all available power, and that's just - well, expensive, or environmentally difficult or something, but no dire warnings about how that'll cripple the whole grid and be the end of life as we know it?

    It's almost as if the oil industry is responsible for spreading propaganda lies about EVs and grid collapse in an effort to keep its market going.

    1. munnoch Bronze badge

      Re: Wait, so...

      I bought a PHEV, my electricity consumption has doubled since. Extrapolate that to every household in the land. Still think the grid isn't going to collapse?

      And that's before we displace gas consumption with electric HP's. That'll be at least the same again.

      If it was all going to work out fine, National Grid wouldn't be holding out the begging bowl to the tune of billions of pounds.

      But yes, totally agree, siphoning off 1/4 of our electricity grid to power AI is morally bankrupt. The potential to enrich society of AI in its current form of LLM's is practically zero.

      1. Filippo Silver badge

        Re: Wait, so...

        I don't worry too much about AI power consumption, in the long term. There are some neat use cases, but I believe most of it to be a hype bubble. The masssive investments are not really seeing returns yet. The jobs that analysts say will be automated away are not getting automated away. The guardrails that are supposed to fix hallucinations are not fixing them. The copyright issues are not solved. Ever larger models are ever better at party tricks, but they are not fixing any of the fundamental problems.

        Investors can and will throw money at it for a while as they go unicorn hunting, but eventually they'll need profits. Ultimately, I don't think there will be enough money in it to sustain the enormous running costs associated with drawing gigawatts.

        If I wanted to feel particularly optimistic, I'd hope that the hype sparks the building of large amounts of more-or-less green power generation, which will still be there after the AI bubble collapses, and will be put to better use.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Wait, so...

          "If I wanted to feel particularly optimistic, I'd hope that the hype sparks the building of large amounts of more-or-less green power generation, which will still be there after the AI bubble collapses, and will be put to better use."

          I hope so as well - the people who are throwing money at this are the same who *can* throw money at other things... and decent micro reactors would be a good outcome.

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Wait, so...

        "I bought a PHEV, my electricity consumption has doubled since. Extrapolate that to every household in the land. Still think the grid isn't going to collapse?"

        At an average of 7500 miles, at a stingy 3.5m/kWh that's just 2MWh - suggesting you're a low use household (UK average is apparently 2.7MWh/year)

        I knew we were a fairly high usage household - what with more people than average and both adults working from home - but I am slightly surprised that it's as low as 2.7MWh.

        Even so - domestic usage isn't all electric usage, and if you do the sums on the entire fleet then you still end up using less electricity than the UK did twenty years ago...

        Heat pumps are the bigger load, and even they aren't that big a deal - yes we'll need some upgrades, but that's already in planning, and it's not like it's going to happen overnight.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait, so...

        "I bought a PHEV, my electricity consumption has doubled since"

        You're not charging it right. Or are in a country where EVs make no sense. (UK) I run a PHEV. Free 'fuel' during the week. Petrol at the weekends.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Wait, so...

          "You're not charging it right."

          Huh?

          Doubling of domestic usage isn't that unusual if you use the plug in aspect properly - of course you might be thinking that "charging at work for free" is the only correct way to charge, it's not always applicable.

          If you're a high user (as I am) normally then it won't double your usage, but that's more about my high use generally than it is about the vehicle.

      4. asdfasdfasdfasdf

        Re: Wait, so...

        LOL - no an EV draws way less power than heating your oven (and way less than if you have an immersion heater)

        I doubt that you bought a PEV. I can tell from your political bias.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What will pay for it?

    I'm not sure a $20/mo subscription plus all personal PI x World Population would pay for all that electricity.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Dave 126 Silver badge

    "Horse dung will cover our streets to a height of nine foot by the year 1930, if this trend continues!"

    Times of London, 1894

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-first-global-urban-planning-conference-was-mostly-about-manure

  9. pimppetgaeghsr

    Good one Rene, keep that stock price inflated.

  10. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    Remember the dream that we were developed countries? Places where we can generate electricity, a technology we are comfortable with. We know how to do so through a long history of experimentation to get the reliable and plentiful energy that underpins our very civilisations.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      "get the reliable and plentiful energy that underpins our very civilisations"

      From hot air generated in these comment sections?

  11. xyz Silver badge

    So data centres in the Sahara then...

    All under hectares and hectares of solar panels.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doubtful...

    ...although there was a plan to run servers in people's houses for heating purposes. Maybe we should investigate that again.

  13. bernmeister
    FAIL

    Who is designing these systems?

    The extra electrical energy used by these systems is dissipated as heat. An obvious solution to the problem of high energy consumption is to use the heat to power things.that would otherwise be powered by the electrical energy used by AI systems. There will be losses but they cant be as bad as just releasing the energy into the environment.

  14. bernmeister

    IIve cracked it!!

    Use the heat from the AI servers to run heat engine grid generators and community heating. Not only will this reduce the server energy bills but it will balance out the extra consumption. There will still be losses due to system efficiences. Are these losses all of the 25% extra power consumption?

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