Is the Metaverse a Growing Threat to the Environment? cover

Is the Metaverse a Growing Threat to the Environment?

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On: June 17, 2022 Comments: 0
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It’s no surprise the Metaverse has become the talk of the town. Its promise to bridge the gap between the digital and physical world is alluring, to say the least. But, believe it or not, this promise also carries potential implications for global warming. This is because Facebook and other social media giants are now leading the charge—and the mass-market exposure spells trouble for the environment. It doesn’t help that Metaverse companies collectively surpassed the market cap of $14 trillion last year.

The main problem is that the Metaverse draws far more electricity than previous online technologies, and it does so from dirty sources, like coal and diesel. The data centers feeding customers graphics and other information for the Metaverse also need to cool their servers, which is the second major draw on power after operating the servers themselves. This is how our media consumption is contributing to global warming. However, not all cooling systems work the same, and immersion cooling—like GRC’s—can significantly reduce the environmental impact.


What is The Metaverse?

The Metaverse is the combination of the physical and virtual worlds using immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). Each of these immersive technologies helps blur the lines between real and digital.

The parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp has even gone so far as to rebrand itself as “Meta”, in reference to the Metaverse. Yet, a third of Americans haven’t even heard of the Metaverse, while only 14% are very familiar with it. The remainder have an intermediate understanding of it. Among those familiar with the Metaverse, reactions to it vary. A third of Americans are curious about it and a quarter are suspicious of it. The rest range from optimistic to concerned or confused.

Examples of participating in the Metaverse could be wearing a 3D headset to feel like you’re in the same office as a colleague in another country, or exploring an exoplanet with friends in an online game. Businesses expect the Metaverse to become the next version of the web, so it’s abundant with investment opportunities.


Opportunities in the Metaverse

The Metaverse has the potential to revolutionize how people work and play. We’ll learn more interactively, produce and sell more efficiently, and use the Metaverse to meet, work, and game.

As the technology develops, businesses will increasingly exploit the Metaverse to make their products and services more accessible. Marketing will feel more alluring to customers who can engage through hyperrealistic graphics and audio.

Large technology businesses such as Meta, Tesla, and IBM, have already committed billions of dollars to the Metaverse. Non-technological companies, like Walmart and Gap, are also investing. Smaller companies will also have their hands in the ring. Decentralized social media and online services are possible Metaverse businesses. Even the military is looking to boost national security with it!

The Metaverse enables realistic training for dangerous jobs and remote work for others. These advantages are spurring the development of products. Some will succeed and become tomorrow’s household names. Don’t miss out on the next life-changing technological leap!

The Potential Environmental Impacts of The Metaverse

While the Metaverse is chock full of opportunities, it also brings some downside risks. As discussed, at the forefront of these is the environmental risk. The widespread use of the Metaverse will require much more computational power than the regular web. For instance, it may incorporate virtual reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing. This will drive up data center activity and its corresponding carbon emissions.

But it’s not all bad news! The Metaverse can actually mitigate other environmental woes, like reducing the need for unnecessary travel. Technology giants are even investing in renewable resources and waste reduction for their data centers. However, it isn’t enough to offset the emissions of the Metaverse entirely.

In addition to the electricity for the servers in the data center, there’s also a lot of electricity needed to cool the servers as they operate. GRC's liquid immersion cooling system drastically reduces this need.

and The Potential Solutions

Technology companies are not oblivious to the threats of the Metaverse, and they’re working to prevent these problems.

On the one hand, software companies are making their products more efficient. For example, a virtual reality alternative world that shows more details in the center of a scene than in the periphery cuts electricity use and carbon emissions without noticeably impacting the experience.

Data centers and hardware companies are also working towards greater efficiency. For instance, they can use energy-efficient processors and design their facilities to require fewer resources to achieve the same performance level.

A prime example of data centers’ innovation to solve the Metaverse’s environmental problems is the deployment of liquid cooling immersion. This green cooling technology is more efficient, enabling data centers to keep pace with growing processor demand.

How Greener Cooling Solutions Come into Play

The unprecedented energy demands to support the Metaverse are weighing heavily on us all; especially data centers. These ‘energy hogs’ are already in the spotlight as a result of their growing percentage of global power consumption. Immersive technology will shift even more of the burden onto data centers.

Green solutions come into play by letting data centers feed society’s burgeoning desire for the Metaverse while suppressing its carbon footprints. Replacing traditional air cooling with liquid immersion cooling can single-handedly erase many of the industry’s carbon emissions while increasing rack capacity.

Immersion cooling is greener than air cooling in that single-phase liquid immersion cooling draws only a tiny fraction of the electricity. Air doesn’t carry much heat away from servers, so you need to blow over a thousand times as much air to cool servers. All that hot air, and the fuel to power it, gets dumped into our environment.

The growing demand for processing in data centers is ramping up energy use. This increases the financial cost and climate toll. GRC’s liquid immersion cooling is the green solution that takes just mere weeks to set up at half the cost of the competition. You can easily add more racks and cooling as you please with an astonishing 95% decrease in energy costs!

When you’re ready to upgrade to green cooling—whether that be in preparation for the Metaverse or something else—contact GRC, the immersion cooling authority!