June 18

Opinion: AI will be incompatible with anti-fossil energy activism



Like it or not, the era of artificial intelligence has arrived, morphing from a science fiction fantasy to the cornerstone of the future world economy.

AI and other ground-breaking technologies like quantum computing will soon become so prevalent throughout society that we will wonder how we were able to exist without them. Like cell phones and the internet, AI will fundamentally change our world and the human experience — hopefully for the better.

As of now, the largest obstacle to the rise of AI is the misguided energy policy that governments across the West have embarked upon in recent decades. The march toward net-zero carbon dioxide emissions and the insistence that we replace fossil fuel-based energy sources with so-called renewable energy sources like wind and solar poses the largest threat to an AI-based future.

In other words, the massive, ill-advised push by climate alarmists to transition almost overnight from reliable and affordable energy sources such as oil, natural gas and coal to not-ready-for-primetime green energy is incompatible with the huge amount of energy that AI will require in the decades to come.

Don’t take my word for it. To date, scores of tech experts have said the exact same thing. From Mark Zuckerberg to Elon Musk and many more, there is a consensus among Silicon Valley’s leaders that AI will necessitate a huge increase in demand for dependable and inexpensive energy.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, one of the world’s loudest voices for the transition to green energy, has even changed his tune in recent months. “These AI data centers are going to require more power than anything we could ever have imagined,” Fink said.. “We at the G7 do not have enough power.”

So, what is the solution? How can we ensure that we have enough energy to power the mega-data centers that AI needs while ensuring we have enough energy to fulfill the needs of American families, businesses and everything else?

First, we must stop the foolish movement to transition away from a primarily fossil-fuel based energy grid toward one that relies on unaffordable, unreliable and unscalable wind and solar power. As of this writing, wind and solar account for only 14 percent of the total energy consumed in the U.S. In their present form, wind and solar simply cannot come close to providing enough energy to meet current energy demand, let alone the huge increase that is sure to come when AI data centers begin taking their toll on the nation’s power grid.

What’s more, wind and solar can provide energy only intermittently, meaning they can provide power only when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. AI data centers require a constant flow of energy. They cannot be shut down when it’s cloudy or calm.

Second, we should embrace clean-burning natural gas as a viable source of energy to meet the growing demand as more AI data centers are built in the years to come. Unlike renewables, natural gas can provide affordable, reliable and abundant energy. Moreover, it does not require environmentally hazardous transmission lines spanning hundreds of miles through pristine habitats.

And, in what can be described as a positive feedback loop, tech experts claim that AI can aid in the discovery of new natural gas deposits.

According to the American Gas Association, “AI itself is helping to fill the fuel demand created by AI data centers. The days of drilling an exploratory well in hopes there might be natural gas at the bottom of it are far behind us. Seismic surveys allow producers to search for detectable deposits of natural gas by generating, recording and analyzing sound waves in a process similar to how bats use echolocation to navigate or ships use sonar to search for potential obstacles. While this process previously required highly trained human analysts to examine the seismic survey returns, AI trained on the results of previous seismic surveys is being deployed to find deposits that human operators would have previously missed.”

Third, we should reconsider nuclear power as a steady source of baseload energy. “Nuclear power is the most reliable energy source, and it’s not even close,” the U.S. Department of Energy states.

Nuclear power is also far more environmentally friendly than wind or solar. “Wind farms require up to 360 times as much land area to produce the same amount of electricity as a nuclear energy facility…Solar photovoltaic facilities require up to 75 times the land area,” reports the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The AI race is going to be a worldwide event. China, Russia and many more countries are pouring resources into their AI programs. The U.S. must not allow these adversarial nations to gain the upper hand in the critical competition for AI supremacy.

Source: Msn.com

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