Meta Platforms (META) will soon own the world's fastest supercomputer, which will help it with such massive tasks as translating text and monitoring for hate speech on a global scale. But there are risks associated with using such computing power.
In this video from "The Virtual Opportunities Show," recorded on Jan. 25, Fool analyst Asit Sharma and Fool contributors Rachel Warren and Jose Najarro discuss a big one: energy usage.
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Asit Sharma: I wanted to call out these couple of comments from Charles. He says, "Impressive capabilities for Meta's supercomputer. But also imagine all the power we'll be using. We complain about Bitcoin miners, but this is a huge power user, not environmentally friendly." Guys, what do you think about? That's a very interesting food for thought.
Jose Najarro: I actually learned the stock, I think it was yesterday from Jason Hall. The company was called Stem and it focuses on making sure some of these data sensors and not all of these companies have artificial intelligence, to make sure that they are powerley efficiently. Obviously, it's going to be using a lot of powers but I feel like some of these big players like Google. Google I think has been something free for the past 10 years with the programs that they're running. I think unfortunately, right now, that's what we're going to see. I think in the future, we might start getting more efficient supercomputers but it is something to keep in mind of.
Rachel Warren: I just would add, I agree it's something to keep in mind. I don't know if they released any real information about that. I'd be curious if maybe they'll address that at some point in terms of the environmental ramifications. That's the dark side of some of these aspects of the metaverse or crypto. There's a lot of opportunity in there but there is also a very tangible real-world cost in terms of the environmental impact. I think that's one of the ways in where some of these areas of investments are definitely not for everyone. I think if that's something that's of concern, specifically which very valid concern. It's something I think about a lot personally. There are plenty of other ways to expand your portfolio beyond companies that are heavily producing some of those less environmentally friendly policies.
Sharma: I think it's a really interesting comment myself and gives me pause. I thought a lot about the energy footprint of certain digital assets like Bitcoin and have rarely stopped to think about the footprint that a company like Nvidia is creating now. Part of it is they're helping the world to become more efficient because we use computing power in all types of industries to reduce carbon footprint and to try to go carbon neutral.
Think about major corporations like funnily enough, Walmart, which seeks to have many of its fulfillment centers and also its retail stores covered with solar panels to reduce their emissions. There's a lot of computing power just used to figure out how to do that. I'm not trying to excuse Nvidia, but I think this is a good thing to ponder something I'm going to think about as well. What is the environmental cost of basically the supplying of the computing power that we are increasingly using as a society.