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ChatGPT uses around 500 ml of water per user interaction

IRS to use AI to find tax cheats, Google's efforts in responsible AI, ChatGPT traffic goes up, and more

Welcome to Daily Zaps — Here’s what we got for you today: 🙌

  • 💧ChatGPT uses around 500 ml of water per user interaction

  • 🧮 IRS to use AI to crack down on ultra-rich

  • 💰 Google pledges $20 million for responsible AI fund

  • 🎒 Back to school = back to ChatGPT

  • 🔗 Other tech news

Let’s get right into it!

ChatGPT uses around 500 ml of water per user interaction

Tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and OpenAI are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of AI development, which includes substantial water consumption to cool powerful supercomputers used in AI training. Microsoft reported a 34% surge in global water consumption in 2022, largely attributed to AI research and generative AI investment. In a forthcoming paper, researchers estimate that ChatGPT uses around 500 milliliters of water per user interaction, including indirect usage for cooling power plants. Google also noted a 20% rise in water use, with variations across locations related to data centers and AI research. The tech companies are now focused on improving efficiency and sustainability while working to reduce water and energy consumption.

Microsoft and OpenAI's collaboration in Iowa's data centers, where they trained their AI models, has attracted attention due to the region's efficient cooling options, with outside air being used for most of the year. However, during hot periods, significant water usage is necessary to maintain ideal temperatures. The disclosure of this information emphasizes the need for tech companies to balance AI innovation with environmental concerns, addressing water usage challenges and collaborating with local authorities to reduce their impact on resources.

IRS to use AI to crack down on ultra-rich

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to investigate tax evasion within multibillion-dollar partnerships, including hedge funds, private equity groups, real estate investors, and large law firms. This move comes as part of the IRS's efforts to target wealthier Americans and tackle complex cases that had previously overwhelmed the agency. The IRS's increased funding, provided through last year's Inflation Reduction Act, aims to crack down on tax evasion and sophisticated accounting tactics used by the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

The IRS is utilizing AI to identify patterns and trends, enhancing its ability to detect income shielding within larger partnerships and conduct major audits more efficiently. The agency plans to open examinations into 75 of the nation's largest partnerships with assets exceeding $10 billion, which were identified through AI, and will send compliance alerts to other large partnerships in October. The focus on partnerships is part of a broader effort to scrutinize wealthier taxpayers in 2024, with the IRS also planning to increase scrutiny of digital assets and investigate the use of foreign bank accounts for tax avoidance. [IRS Press Release]

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Google pledges $20 million for responsible AI fund

Google's philanthropic arm is investing $20 million in the Digital Futures Project and an associated fund to promote responsible AI development. The project aims to encourage discussions, research, and public policy solutions for AI's responsible advancement, focusing on societal questions regarding AI's impact on global security, the job market, and its potential to boost productivity and economic growth for governments. Recipients of the fund include organizations like the Aspen Institute, Brookings Institution, and MIT Work of the Future, among others.

Critics have raised concerns about AI-related challenges, such as algorithmic bias, misinformation, and the risk of uncontrolled AI systems. Google Org’s Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink emphasized the need for collaboration and deep engagement from various stakeholders to ensure responsible AI development, highlighting the project's goal of supporting research and dialogue to harness AI's full potential in addressing societal issues.

Back to school = back to ChatGPT

Traffic to OpenAI's ChatGPT website experienced a drop during the summer months, which is partly attributed to the theory that school being out may have led to reduced usage among students. While traffic in the US slightly increased by 0.4% in August as students returned to school, it remained down by 3% globally. This decline in web traffic correlated with the reduced use by college-age students, with traffic dropping by 10% in May, 15% in June, and 4% in July.

ChatGPT maintains its position as one of the world's largest websites, with 1.4 billion global visits in August, surpassing Microsoft's Bing search engine.

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