Futuribles Journal n° 429

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

An Argument for Digital Restraint


It is often said that the digital transition could be conducive to ecological transition by making it possible, for example, to substitute telecommunications for transport or by helping to optimize energy flows – of electricity, in particular. There is, however, no evidence for such a happy conjecture. On the contrary, a study by the Shift Project, whose findings are presented here by Hugues Ferreboeuf, reveals that the energy consumption entailed in the production of digital equipment and its use is growing to a very substantial degree, as indeed is the consumption of scarce metals. Hence, these allegedly virtuous activities are having a negative impact on the climate and natural resources. This trend is not inevitable, but reversing it would require radical change.

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