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    Metaverse: A blessing or curse for environment?

    Metaverse: A blessing or curse for environment?

    Metaverse: A blessing or curse for environment?
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Updated)

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    Some experts feel the environmental costs from artificial intelligence workloads arising from running the Metaverse could be huge. However, data centres have adopted recent technological innovations that will help mitigate the environmental woes.

    As companies like Disney, Apple, Nvidia, Microsoft and Meta work towards embracing the metaverse, experts feel the environmental costs from artificial intelligence (AI) workloads arising from running the metaverse could be huge. However, data centres have adopted recent technological innovations that will help mitigate the environmental impact.
    In fact, the metaverse could have a positive outcome on the environment by changing the way we interact with each other, Verdict reported quoting GlobalData Thematic Research data.
    Positive impact
    The biggest environmental benefit is that it will reduce the human need for travel. Eliminating commutes will reduce air pollution and the warming of the planet. Electric vehicles (EVs) also help reduce carbon emissions, but they do not solve problems like congestion.
    According to a report by US-based news website CleanTechnica, metaverse will help reduce other job-related activities that are heavily polluting. Metaverse could be used to perform military training exercises such as pilots flying combat aeroplanes in the virtual world, thereby reducing emissions.
    Another impact of the metaverse could be in saving lives by reducing accidents that occur during training to perform dangerous tasks.


    Negative impact
    Some analysts fear widescale adoption of the metaverse may result in a significant rise in emissions.
    Even as Metaverse reduces carbon emissions through a reduction in travel, its dependence on virtual reality (VR) technologies and data centres will have a negative impact on the environment. Data centres use AI to track eye and hand movements, while VR depends on cloud services. A huge amount of power is required to run such facilities, which comes at a great environmental cost.
    According to research conducted by the University of Massachusetts, training a single AI model could emit about 626,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, which is almost five times the lifetime emission of an average car, UK-based digital transformation company ECS, said in a report.
    Another research conducted by Lancaster University showed that if 30 percent of gamers moved to cloud gaming platforms by 2030, it would lead to the rise of carbon emissions by 30 percent.
    Data centres have adopted several innovations in the past year to become more sustainable, measures that are likely to reduce the environmental impact of the metaverse in the future.
    Meta has pledged to reach net-zero emissions across its operations and the value chain by 2030.
    Microsoft, a leader in leasing US multi-tenant data centres, has committed to completely shift to renewable energy for its Azure cloud platform by 2025. The company also plans to replenish more water than it consumes by 2030 and get certified for zero waste by 2030.
    These commitments may lead to Metaverse running on sustainable sources.


     
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