Driven by the strong push of Apple, Disney, Nvidia, Microsoft, and Facebook, which has just changed its name to Meta, the Metaverse has successfully appeared in thousands of households. However, although the metaverse has always emphasized the virtual world, running this digital world requires the high-speed operation of real electronic devices, and consumes a lot of energy and causes environmental pollution. However, thanks to the latest technology from GlobalData, scientists can mitigate the impact of the metaverse on the environment and natural resources. In addition, scientists have found that the operation of the metaverse can also offset part of the carbon emissions caused by human daily activities.
The Metaverse and Its Environmental Impact
The Metaverse provides all experiencers with a virtual world where they can interact and share experiences in real time. In this virtual space, a large amount of rich, high-speed data will be generated as users perform various behaviors and activities, and will need to be analyzed by artificial intelligence applications. At the same time, the Metaverse also needs VR equipment to achieve a complete user experience, which also needs the help of artificial intelligence technology. Examples include deep neural networks that respond to gesture changes and deep learning that captures eye activity.
Generally speaking, the data processing work in the central data center, especially the delivery of artificial intelligence technology, will bring huge environmental costs. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts conducted periodic evaluations of several common large-scale artificial intelligence models and found that the resources consumed to train an artificial intelligence model are equivalent to 626,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, which is almost a car in the United States. 5 times the total emissions that can be produced during its average lifetime.
Cloud service technology is critical to VR, and of course, to the Metaverse. According to a report released by Lancaster University in 2020, if 30% of gamers switched to cloud gaming platforms by 2030, the associated carbon emissions would increase by 30%. At the same time, the Metaverse requires high-resolution images for lifelike quality, which will further increase energy consumption.
Latest technological innovation
Although metaverse technology would theoretically consume more energy, in the future the metaverse may cause far fewer environmental problems than it does now due to the development, utilization and promotion of sustainable energy sources. For example, Microsoft Corporation has been building a multi-architecture since 2020, and the operation of this facility consumes all renewable energy. It is estimated that with the use of this recyclable model, by 2030, the facility can achieve a water surplus compared to the water consumed by its own operation, and can achieve zero water waste in the same year. For another example, a UK-based open source pressure group has unveiled a project called “Fixing the Pleated Skirt” to improve the sustainability of data centers. For example, use abandoned buildings as 5G information transfer stations and encourage the reuse of hardware equipment.
Reduce potential emissions in life
The Metaverse is also very likely to help reduce many forms of carbon emissions. For example, presenting concerts on an online virtual reality platform so that audience members can reduce their commutes and thus reduce transportation carbon emissions.
Although it is currently unknown how much the metaverse can bring to our lives, however, as the focus on sustainable development projects in the field of science and technology picks up, scientists who are engaged in the development of metaverse technology are bound to The environmental impact of new technologies will be factored into the overall innovation programme.