ChatGPT consumes 500 ml of water per 5-50 prompts

Occurred: September 2023

ChatGPT consumes 500 milliliters of water every time it is asked a series of between 5 to 50 prompts or questions, according (pdf) to a study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside. 

The wide range varies depending on where its servers are located and the season. The estimate includes indirect water usage that the companies do not measure, such as to cool power plants that supply the data centers with electricity.

OpenAI responded by saying that it was giving 'considerable thought' to the best use of its computing power. 'We recognize training large models can be energy and water-intensive" and work to improve efficiencies', it said.

The finding raises questions about the impact of ChatGPT and other large language models on water consumption and local communities. It also highlights the reluctance of OpenAI and other developers to disclose their environmental impacts. 

System 🤖

Operator: OpenAI
Developer: OpenAI
Country: USA
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Generate text
Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning; Reinforcement learning
Issue: Environment
Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: September 2023
Last updated: November 2023