At a time when the world is finally waking up to the climate crisis, the tech companies and governments are busy persuading the public that A.I. (artificial intelligence), digitalisation, data acquisition/storage and the I.O.T. (internet of things) are going to save the world.
Before we are all entrapped into this ‘fool’s gold rush’, I would like the tech companies, governments and all of us, to first take a close look at the technology behind all of this. As most people now are used/addicted to LCD screen based devices, the ‘illusion’ is that we are living in an advanced high-tech world. But, as with so much of our core infrastructure, the reality is that most of it is still based on 100+ year old technology, and the world of electronics is no different.
I grant you that the advancement of hand-held devices, artificial intelligence and the internet is immensely valuable and certainly a stepping stone to the future, but would like to remind people that all of this is still relatively ‘stone age’ technology and rather like the exploitation of fossil fuels that drove the industrial revolution but also our current climate crisis. We should be mindful of ensuring that before we embark on the exponential scaling of technology that we have at least developed the primary core technology first.
Unfortunately, the current processing power consumption of computers is not conducive with the current ambitions of society to significantly escalate it – and unfortunately, rather than there being a net reduction of greenhouse emissions as a result of this technology implementation, I am afraid that the opposite will be the case!
The worlds largest planned supercomputer ‘Frontier’ is going to be a 1.5 exaFLOP machine (1.5 billion, billion calculations per second). This machine will cost US$600 million, take up 7,300 square feet of floor space BUT more importantly consume between 30 and 40 Megawatts of power!
Now, as with any figures, these may appear meaningless, but as a comparison, the human brain operates at around 1 exaFLOP (2/3rds of the planned Frontier processing performance) but only uses 20 Watts! This clearly indicates the vast inefficiency of current electronics technology and also indicates the scale of the energy and climate problem that we are about to unleash unless we first start using more of our own human intelligence before relying on Artificial Intelligence!
A close look at Biological systems with millions/billions of years of evolution will always take us closer to advancing our technology and we should be asking this question, “If we cannot better what is laid in front of us, shouldn’t we be trying to understand this first?”
At WPT, we are not interested in promoting computer controls or gathering endless data, but we are interested in simplicity, energy consumption and efficiency. Our water powered pumping systems operate with the basic simplicity, efficiency and rhythm of a human heart, whilst many electric pumps will claim to pioneer efficient computer controls that can be connected to the IOT? Ask yourself, “What will the ultimate accumulative energy cost of all this be, and how long will it last?
Unfortunately, I am afraid that we are about to find out!
However, if you require a long term, simple and natural water pumping system that does not tell you when your lunch is ready – please feel free to contact us.
by Phil Selwyn – Technical Director, Water Powered Technologies.