Sustainable technology can save 50x carbon impact, claims Digital Sustainability Alliance

31 October, 23
Industry leaders from the Digital Sustainability Alliance have claimed that sustainable technologies to store and compute digital data can save 50x on carbon impact

Industry leaders from the Digital Sustainability Alliance have claimed that sustainable technologies to store and compute digital data can save 50x on carbon impact, amid the 23 per cent rise in digital data year on year.

Speaking at NAB New York last week, Ben Golub, co-founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance, highlighted the impact of green technology choices from both society and influencers that attract millions of video views. Golub urged for greener solutions and the practices of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse to be embraced when it comes to technology.

Golub was joined on a panel titled Video for Social Impact by industry leaders including Amanda Needham, Managing Director of The Telly Awards; Becky Morrison, CEO & Founder of The Light; Gloria Pitagorsky, Managing Partner of Heard City, to discuss how sustainable technology can influence video computation and storage.

Ben Golub, Co-Founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance and CEO of Storj, said on the panel: “The single easiest and most impactful thing industry influencers and businesses can do is to make green choices on technology. Video content is a vital part of society as a powerful medium to educate, inform, entertain and protect humanity, but we must acknowledge the carbon challenges of storing and computing video data, and crucially the negative environmental impact with the current approach.”

“Greener technologies, similar to the Alliance’s members, could potentially save 50 times on carbon impact through the reduction of duplicate video content, storage optimization and minimized GPU wastage. According to MIT, posting two 6-second videos on social media uses the equivalent energy required to boil 22 gallons of water. As a collective, we must become better stewards of our planet, recognising the carbon issues associated with digital data and embracing the technologies that can reduce the problem, while maintaining performance.”

Digital Sustainability Alliance co-founder Tom Dunning also spoke at NAB New York, discussing the carbon implications of duplicated video storage and AI. “As businesses, we often identify the greatest risks and the low-hanging fruit for our commercial objectives. AI arguably represents the biggest threat to sustainability in the next 3 years, due to its meteoric growth, and video storage and streaming are the low hanging fruit.”

“Video storage & streaming represent 1.84 percent of world CO2 emissions which can be reduced to less than 0.5 percent with the right technology. Compared to the aviation industry at 2.1 percent where sustainable improvements are difficult, digital sustainability really is the low hanging fruit for the world, and particularly for the Media & Entertainment industry. Factor in AI, which is expected to be part of 90 percent of applications by 2030 and the problem becomes exponentially larger. The impact of AI for processing, and particularly training, is very high and increasing as they become more complex. The Digital Sustainability Alliance aims to help quantify the size of the issue and highlight the possible solutions to this problem that affects the world.”

The news follows the launch of the Digital Sustainability Alliance, an independent membership-based organisation formed by co-founders Storj, Ad Signal and Valdi. The Alliance seeks to address the environmental impact of storing and computing the hundreds of zettabytes of digital data generated across the globe.

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