At Data Centre LIVE 2023, Layer 9 Data Centres’ CEO Michael Ortiz spoke about how generative AI will ultimately influence how data centres are operated and built, as well as how it will impact emerging markets such as Latin America.
Ortiz’s credentials span over 23 years, as he has led publicly traded companies across various platforms associated with Datacenter, Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud deployments across the US, Canada and Latin America.
During his talk, he explored how the “power-hungry” nature of generative AI and what challenges this poses for data centres, particularly concerning increased processing power and electricity consumption.
Leveraging AI to develop solutions across Latin America
Layer 9 Data Centres is a hyperscale data centre solutions provider with a core focus on developing solutions to the cloud beginning in Mexico and soon to be Latin America, with their first planned flagship breaking ground late 2022. It is capable of 64 MW of capacity in Phase 1 beginning towards the end of 2023.
Ortiz discussed how generative AI has gained significant attention in recent years due to its ability to create new and original content. He said that an increased demand for data centre capacity and electricity will undoubtedly impact the data centre market in Latin America.
“They still don't know and understand the complete complexities of this machine (AI) and the applications. So it is an immense amount of unknown, but the things that can become generative and positive are immense,” he said.
“It democratises data, it allows people in emerging markets - people who otherwise wouldn't have access to things like medical advice, legal advice, accounts.”
The Latin American frontier for AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) is now starting to emerge. According to Ortiz, 650 million residents across the continent have access to the Internet, but are “not using it the way first world nations are using it.”
He said: “While they may have access to smartphones, their use of data relative to smart devices and IoT has just begun.”
“An immense opportunity for AI to grow in these regions”
Ortiz discussed how Latin America is an interconnected region of the world that “extends its reach” to the rest of the world. He states how it is an exciting time in the region, as it presents a huge opportunity for AI to grow, but there will ultimately be a direct impact on how data centres will be built.
“I like the notion that data centres are in fact the sky that supports the cloud, [but] the reality is that there are not enough data centres to support what's coming. But we also have to be very conscious of not only the effects of the state AI, but also the environmental impact that we have building these data centres,” he said.
“We need to get smarter. We will be more efficient, we'll be building greener, we will be building with scale in mind. There is a carbon impact that is now becoming front and centre.”
Ortiz also spoke of the challenges presented by limits to power supplies and how data centres are going to have to start thinking about getting more into clean energy, nuclear and hydrogen powers.
“There's a point where we are going to have them think about whether we bring on micro nuclear reactors that can power cities, towns, municipalities and eventually data centres. So I think we have no choice.
“Now, data is becoming the fourth evolution of the industrial revolution. We have an obligation to our next generation, our children, to leave this place in a better place than we left it.
“We've got a lot of work to do,” he continued. “I know there's a lot of talk about where we need to be, relative to green, sustainable and carbon neutral [methods], but it not only begins with us interacting with the government - we have to be more interactive.
“We have to treat the government more as a partner than an adversary and we have to role our sleeves up and think creatively.”
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