Let Us Not Put All Our Eggs in One Basket: The 'Fading ICT' Scenario





Research in computer science and computer engineering includes several branches dedicated to the environmental impacts of ICT. Green-IT consists in improving the performances of ICT itself (software, hardware, communication infrastruture) in order to reduce its impacts; Green-by-IT promises to reduce the impacts of other sectors thanks to ICT. In this talk we will argue that this is not sufficient. Green-IT optimizations are often (if not always) synonymous of massive rebound effects. Green-by-IT is nothing more than a promise, at least until now. In order not to put all our eggs in one basket, we should start studying other, less techno-optimistic, scenarios. A somewhat extreme hypothesis is that manufacturing new hardware will stop at some point in the future. We should therefore study the “fading-ICT” scenario, using the abundant ICT resources of today to prepare a future of scarcity, in which some of the activities that rely on ICT today will be freed from this dependency.

(1) Florence Maraninchi. Let Us Not Put All Our Eggs in One Basket. Communications of the ACM, September 2022, Vol.65 No. 9, Pages 35-37. https://hal.science/hal-03766614

(2) https://www.ins2i.cnrs.fr/fr/cnrsinfo/quelle-recherche-en-informatique-pour-un-numerique-inscrit-dans-les-limites-planetaires