The Brookings Institution's Sanjay Patnaik discusses green AI, sustainable IT practices, and explains why CIOs must strive for innovation, but do so responsibly.

Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager

April 19, 2023

2 Min Read
Glowing light bulb placed in nature next to sprouting plants.

Earth Month -- which take place during April every year -- is a time to raise awareness and create consciousness about issues that impact our environment each and every day. What should "green" enterprise IT teams aim for and brace for in 2023? Sanjay Patnaik, Director of the Center on Regulation and Markets (CRM) and fellow in Economic Studies at The Brookings Institution, the Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Development, and fellow for the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) at Johns Hopkins University, provided InformationWeek with some clarity, in a video interview:

“I do think that when we look at climate and some of the things that we need to address climate change, like for instance, monitoring emissions or analyzing really large data sets around the world,” said Patnaik, “and so if I were to sit down with CIOs, I would really implore them to look at the vulnerability of their business, of their location, of data centers and locations of other office buildings. The new AI methods can really be very helpful I believe, and I think that we're just at the beginning of trying to realize the potential of these technologies to help us find ways to address climate change and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

A pillar of any sustainability concept, he notes, is to increase the renewable share, “which means maybe trying to offset some of those emissions in the short run, if we can not switch right away. But as you also pointed out, a lot of the recent trends in tech that we see with the large language models, for instance, they really need a lot of energy, right? These are like huge processing farms, huge data centers and those need a lot of energy. It's not to say, oh, we should not engage in those activities, because obviously those are progress and those are innovation. But the way we think about it is, we should find ways to provide energy for that.”

Watch our full length video interview for more.

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About the Author(s)

Brandon Taylor

Digital Editorial Program Manager

Brandon Taylor enables successful delivery of sponsored content programs across Enterprise IT media brands: Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, ITPro Today and Network Computing.

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