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What Future for ICT?

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What Future for ICT?

  1. 1. What future for ICT? Alexandre Monnin GDS eco-Info (CNRS) ESC-Clermont-Ferrand Origens Medialab
  2. 2. Prédictions or Recommendations? Numbers → Predictions Trends → Recommendations
  3. 3. Numbers or trends? Apparaising with numbers is important but it is always possible to question a specific point, a methodology or data collection, etc. It therefore seems to me crucial to identify long-term trends and the reasons behind or them. This approach is less prone to be countered by ad hoc "solutionist" counter-arguments (techno-fixes).
  4. 4. Trends: physical limits source : José Halloy, LIED
  5. 5. Trends: the rebound effect https://ecoinfo.cnrs.fr/2015/12/23/les-effets-rebond-du-numerique/
  6. 6. Trends: the availability of ore source: José Halloy, LIED
  7. 7. Extraction is often secondary Source: José Halloy, LIED
  8. 8. … and costly! source : José Halloy, LIED
  9. 9. Trends: a vicious circle source : José Halloy, LIED
  10. 10. Fizaine, F. and Court, V. (2015) “Renewable electricity producing technologies and metal depletion: A sensitivity analysis using the EROI”, Ecological Economics, 110, pp. 106–118. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.12.001.
  11. 11. Temporality: a time for action? • Energy transition: Recent studies conducted at MIT have shown that at the current rate this transition would take 363 years to implement: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610457/ at-this-rate-its-going-to-take-nearly-400-years- to-transform-the-energy-system/ (which is very insufficient).
  12. 12. Temporality: a time for action? • In this calculation, in addition, the cost of installing the RE must be taken into account. Because what is targeted with RE is obviously to reduce CO2 emissions, but the installation work will bring its share of emissions. We are therefore counting on future savings, but this in turn requires that the window of opportunity to act must be large enough (cf. 3, 10 or 20 years?...). Another example: solar panels. A study showed that taking into account the lifetime of the panels and the ecological cost of their production, a growth of more than 12% per year in the sector would have a negative carbon footprint (factoring both emissions and savings).
  13. 13. Temporality: a time for action? • Fusion (ITER): the latest EUROfusion roadmap does not foresee the commissioning of nuclear fusion reactor demonstrators until "the beginning of the second half of the 21st century" (2054 according to another document - an assessment considered optimistic by the experts themselves. One of them adds "it is vital to demonstrate electricity generation from fusion "not too far after the middle of the century". Otherwise, there may no longer be a nuclear industry able to build the commercial fusion plants that would follow, and the public may lose patience. ", http://www.bbc.com/news/science- environment-40558758). • Important for connected objects: https://www.inria.fr/centre/grenoble/actualites/en-2067- chaque-centimetre-carre-produira-de-la-donnee
  14. 14. Temporality and « defuturation » • Tony Fry proposes the concept of defuturation to describe the current situation. According to him, design is normally a work of futuration, it produces a habitable future (on a species scale). • Today, he adds, innovation and design no longer produce a future but its opposite; they are therefore factors of "defuturation". • Indeed, innovations come largely from a past in which the Anthropocene had no place, a past giving birth to an obsolete, stillborn, future...
  15. 15. Ex. : Carbon budget and ICT evolution • Two antagonistic tendencies; • ICT represents about 3% of greenhouse gas emissions, but by 2025 it will represent around 8 to 9%; • In addition, the sector's energy growth is 9% per year....; • However, if we look at the commitments of a country like France, these trends are absolutely not compatible with the commitments made...
  16. 16. Another ICT? • Photonics (based on photons)? • Quantum computer? • Biomimicry/neuromorphism (sensitive machines)? • New architectures (adiabatic calculation - rewritable)? New logics? New languages? • New materials (carbon-based microprocessors)?
  17. 17. The 30th birthday of Web • WWW : the Inrupt project. • retro-futurist nostalgia?
  18. 18. The Web We Can Afford • Going from the Web We Want to the Web We Can Afford. Assumes a good knowledge of the Web. Not necessarily an eternal, non- carbonated Web, but a transitional Web https://www.w3.org/community/wwc a/
  19. 19. Other futures (?): Downscaling the Web • The « downscaling the Web » initiative (https://worldwidesemanticweb.org) • A Web (including a Semantic one) with no Internet !
  20. 20. Other futures (?): low-tech • Here an intermittent site powered by solar panels....
  21. 21. Other future (?): offline sites • No connexion is needed!
  22. 22. Other futures (?): the sneakernet • Exchanging data from hand to hand
  23. 23. Other futures (?) : other networks • Community wireless networks • Depicted here is a MESH network deployment in Detroit in 2011.
  24. 24. Other futures for research • S-CHI: Sustainable Human-Computer Interaction • Crisis Informatics • ICTD: Information and Communication Technology for Development • Computing Within Limits Workshops • Minimal Computing • Collapse informatics • Undesign the Internet • Undesigning Technology • Defuturing and Destruction
  25. 25. Essential reasons: « zombie technologies » • Community wireless networks • José Halloy (physicist at LIED), distinguishes between "living technologies" (part of biogeochemical cycles) and "zombie technologies" (our current technologies, which are based on finite resources and proven to be very unsustainable in working order while maximizing their lifespan in the form of waste)
  26. 26. Zombies vs Living Technologies Resources Durabilités Fin de vie Zombie technologies Limited (long-term exhaustion) Minimal service life Maximum waste life Living technologies Renewable (high durability) Maximum service life Minimal waste life
  27. 27. • This distinction points to certain "essential" reasons (and therefore not correlated to uses and not compensable in the long term) explaining the current impasses, particularly in the digital age.
  28. 28. Le numérique comme « commun négatif ? » Commons: Resource-Community- Rules (cf. Elinor Ostrom). Negative common? Not what everyone wants to take. The opposite. What no one wants: a polluted river, an end-of-life nuclear power plant, etc. Sometimes, the same reality on the surface is not the same for everyone ("uncommons"). For some people, digital means growth and progress. For others... it's the same thing but it's not synchronous with our living conditions and the trends highlighted above. Zombie technologies turn into negative common no matter what happens (zombie waste, which cannot disappear). 100 billion connected objects in a few years, smart cities, the IA, the Blockchain + smart contract + IoT association, etc.? The challenge is now to institute new levers, spaces and collectives to reclaim decisions relating to the treatment of the negative commons.
  29. 29. Pre-conclusion • The futures: multiple and asynchronous • The future synchronizes future divergences • Our revolutions are temporary • End of linear and cumulative progress • Our technologies/infrastructure/research resources are not sustainable but are there: what should we use them for before the effects of the new age (the Anthropocene) are fully felt?
  30. 30. Closing Worlds Initiative

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