Applied Materials CEO Gary Dickerson warned of the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) to the environment at his keynote speech during Semicon Korea on Friday.
Dickerson said if AI data centers are built with the current technology, data centers will be consuming 15% of global power by 2025.
This could be costly and a disaster to earth, the CEO said. There needs to be a new strategy to improve launch of new technologies and improving power, performance and cost of semiconductors, Dickerson said.
A great amount of carbon dioxide is emitted during the manufacture and use of semiconductors. Applied Materials emitted 145,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019. When combined with its customers and partners as well as semiconductor manufacture, emission rate reaches around 50 million metric tonnes. These semiconductors are then used in computers, tablets, servers, smartphones, TVs and other devices that together contribute a billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Dickerson said Applied Materials was focusing its research and development on preventing rise in power consumption from advancements in AI. Around 70% of the company's operation cost was used in research and development, he said.
Applied Materials has focused its investments for the past couple of years on advanced digital based facilities, data science, machine learning, simulation and sensor. The CEO said these technologies can be used to reduce the time and cost to manufacture semiconductors, while also improving yield rate that conserves energy. Applied Materials was developing “interesting” solutions with customers, the CEO said, with precise details to be shared near the end of the year.
Applied Materials plans to use 100% renewable energy by 2030. It also plans to reduce the use of energy and chemicals by 30% by that time stamp. Its SuCCESS 2030 program aims to optimize material selection and procurement, packaging, inventory management, transportation and recycling to reduce energy consumption and carbon emission.
With big power comes big responsibility, the CEO said, and Applied Materials will recognize its own influence in the industry to take decisive action in the area.