I had a look at the implications of the Facebook Metaverse on emissions from computing. It is scary.

For the ideal VR experience, you need a network bandwidth of 1.6Gbit/s. To watch an HD video at 4K currently, you need 25Mbits/s; 8K would be 100Mbits/s.

So VR requires 64x more bandwidth than 4K video!

Ignoring the infrastructure emissions, purely running this from a cloud data centre effectively means a 64x increase in energy consumption and therefore in carbon emissions.

When I researched my talk about Frugal Computing, I did not discuss VR, as none of the studies I referenced considered it. But with a giant like Facebook behind it, VR might become a very considerable part of our lives.

That would be a disaster: already, emissions from computing are dominated by video. VR will make this many, many times worse.

The only bright side is that with current technologies, there is not enough electricity in the world to power this ideal-experience VR revolution.



@wim_v12e Another piece of good news is that VR is awful!

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@vincent I hope everyone thinks so, then there won't be a problem ^_^

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