AI Has a Real Environmental Impact—Here’s How Designers Are Handling It

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One of the foundational materials of computer science is an endless piece of tape. “An unlimited memory capacity obtained in the form of an infinite tape, marked out into squares,” is how Alan Turing described his 1936 mathematical model and the forefather of the computer. According to Turing’s model, the machine would read and write symbols in individual cells on the endless tape, which would then determine the machine’s behavior. “Such a tape does not exist,” points out artist, writer, and educator Ingrid Burrington, who introduced me to the Turing Machine’s apparently infinite resource. “We don’t have infinite things. We live in a world of finite objects. The assumption of infinitude of resources, of energy, of innovations, creates the impression that we can and should keep growing, keep building, and keep expanding”…

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