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In a 2019 analysis, OpenAI found that from 1959 to 2012, the amount of power used to train AI models doubled every two years, and that the power usage began rising seven times faster after 2012. It’s already causing strain. Microsoft is reportedly facing an internal shortage of the server hardware needed to run its AI, and the scarcity is driving prices up. CNBC, speaking to analysts and technologists, estimates the current cost of training a ChatGPT-like model from scratch to be over $4 million. One solution to the AI training dilemma that’s been proposed is photonic chips, which use light to send signals rather than the electricity that conventional processors use. Photonic chips could in theory lead to higher training performance because light produces less heat than electricity, can travel faster and is far less susceptible to changes in temperature and electromagnetic fields.


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