As we step into a brand-new year after the tumultuous whirlwind of 2023, the pace of AI developments suddenly surged. Try casting your mind back to where we stood in January 2023 – what did we truly know about ChatGPT or the application and development of our own AI models for business operations? That's just how swiftly things can progress in the tech realm!
Predicting the future is always speculative, yet we dare to venture forth. Even if it's simply to reflect by the end of 2024 on just how off the mark we might have been. Here's what we foresee for 2024 in the realm of IT and the environment. And you? What do you envision for 2024?
- The Cloud's Persistent Growth and Expansion
In the IT landscape, every 5 to 10 years ushers in a new development. Nonetheless, the cloud, despite its years, remains steadfastly 'here to stay.' More and more business processes are migrating to the cloud, and those remaining outliers are swiftly making the transition. The shift primarily revolves around the adoption of multicloud applications. Setting up a multicloud IT network is becoming increasingly simplified. This not only mitigates the risk of system failure but also averts dependency on a single provider. Additionally, organizations have the flexibility to keep operations as local as possible, opting for sustainable cloud providers. In 2024, expect a surge in the adoption of m setups among organizations.
- CSRD Initiates in 2024
2024 marks the initiation of large corporations reporting their impacts on people and the environment according to the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) guidelines. While this year pertains only to the largest 7,500 companies in Europe, its influence sometimes extends to smaller enterprises. These smaller entities might need to contribute as suppliers and gradually prepare for the time when they too are obligated to compile such reports.
The reports must adhere to the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). However, the absence of a definitive standard for compiling a CSRD report leaves many companies uncertain about where or how to commence their environmental reporting. Consultancies are stepping in to streamline this process for companies with standardized questionnaires. With more businesses obligated to report, the demand for such services will soar.
Another development in AI might assist in simplifying these reports. More on this under point 4.
- AI: The Dark Side – Impact on the Environment and Humanity
AI truly made its mark in 2023, penetrating mass usage. This has implications: heightened environmental strain due to the computational demands and ethical debates intensifying. Enter the AI Act, currently under consideration by the European Parliament. Should it receive approval, the law will take effect from early 2025. Companies will need to disclose to customers when they are interacting with AI rather than a human. Developers will be required to provide clearer insights into AI development and associated risks. Through the AI Act, companies can assure the safety of the AI systems they use.
Regarding environmental impact: AI demands substantial computational power for model training, resulting in a massive carbon footprint. AI developers and cloud providers are cognizant of this and have expressed intentions to explore ways to reduce it. There will be a heightened emphasis on GreenOps, training and developing AI models with minimal energy consumption, waste, and CO2 emissions.
- AI: The Bright Side – Its Environmental Contributions
Conversely, AI holds the potential to furnish us with better information and identify patterns, facilitating faster sustainability initiatives. Instances include monitoring CO2 emissions across various business process settings, such as logistics companies using AI to optimize routes, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
AI will also be integrated into facilities to minimize environmental impact. Predictions made by AI enable proactive actions rather than reactive responses. Facility management areas like climate control, water consumption, lighting, and waste reduction can be more energy-efficient. This applies equally to IT.
- Green IT
With AI and increasingly IT-intensive business processes, the demand for servers and data centers is escalating. However, municipalities aren't eager to sanction them due to the strain on the power grid and water resources. Nevertheless, these advancements are unstoppable, urging us to contemplate how IT consumption can become more sustainable. While GreenOps is an option, we need to explore ways to further reduce the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of data centers.
Leafcloud has devised a smart – yet relatively simple – concept: placing servers in existing buildings with central heating systems. We directly utilize excess heat for the local production of hot water. Proximity allows us to harness up to 85% of that heat. In many other cases, heat dissipates over longer distances, resulting in significant heat loss. By siting servers where heat is required, less cooling for servers is necessary, and residents consume fewer fossil fuels. This approach benefits the environment on two fronts!
Hence, our prediction for 2024 is that more companies will recognize the advantages and transition to Leafcloud. 😉
Many of the developments mentioned above are extensions of what transpired in 2023. Yet, this holds true for every year. As we commenced this blog: the breakthrough of AI had been on prediction lists for years, and no one anticipated its sudden rapid progression this year. Technology never ceases to amaze us positively. Hence, we're exhilarated when contemplating what lies ahead. But simultaneously, we advocate to ensure that these developments don't further harm Mother Earth. This is a commitment we uphold daily at Leafcloud. So, if you're considering greener IT consumption, Leafcloud is the cloud provider. Literally, because our concept is unique. No other cloud provider matches this. Seize your resolutions today and get in touch with us.