UK research increasingly relies on ‘digital research infrastructure’ (DRI): digital technologies and computational facilities from laptops to high-performance computing and large-scale data archives. DRI has an energy and carbon impact as a result of performing computational work (emissions scope 1), the energy needed to drive them and how this is generated (scope 2), and their manufacture and disposal (scope 3). In our report, we outline our key findings and offer recommendations for more sustainable DRI policy and practice. Our recommendations also demonstrate that interventions should not just be technical, but also to training, procurement and research culture! Read more: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7966424.
Logistics Chaire Intl Seminar on 9th November on fairer and more sustainable last mile parcel logistics
Delighted to have the opportunity to talk about our fairer and more sustainable gig economy work.
We talk about the gig economy workers’ experience based on a mix of innovative online methods. We uncover how much they’re paid, what their experience and knowledge of the city is. Plus end with some ideas about how we could create better, fairer and more sustainable work for this growing group of workers. With implications for platform developers, cities, logistics companies and policy makers.
This was part of a 1/2 day event coordinated by Dr. Laetitia Dablanc, Logistics City Chair at University Gustave Eiffel, Paris. Note that they publish a range of fascinating surveys and data relating to logistics, gig workers and e.g. warehouse distribution, see:
- Introduction by Jonathan Sebbane (Sogaris) and Laetitia Dablanc (Logistics City Chair)
- Anne Goodchild (University of Washington) – Bringing curbs to light; estimating the value of digital curb availability data
- Adrian Friday (Lancaster University) – FlipGig: Digitally transforming deliveries and collections in the gig-economy
- Matthieu Schorung (Université Gustave Eiffel) – Geography of warehouses in the United States and spatial patterns of Amazon warehouses
- Giacomo Lozzi (Università degli studi Roma TRE) – Improving stakeholder engagement for urban logistics: the L-3D project
- Travis Fried (University of Washington) – New spatial patterns for e-commerce warehousing and implications for equity
- Heleen Buldeo Rai (Université Gustave Eiffel) – Proximity logistics and how warehouses can become good neighbors
SIGCHI blog post on reducing academic air travel published
Is it time to question the carbon intensity of academic travel? How will we reduce this footprint in line with the ‘Carbon Law’ to work within 1.5 degrees ambitions? Some thoughts on this in a new blog post published today on medium.
Digital Futures Distinguished Lecture on ICT Impacts
Was delighted to be hosted by Digital Futures @ KTH in Sweden, especially the fantastic folks at Sustainable Futures Lab in Media Technology and Interaction Design (funded by Digital Futures’ excellent Scholar in Residence Programme). As part of this, I got to do a talk on estimates of ICT’s impact and my thoughts on the narratives embedded in this (will efficiency and green energy save ICT from its impacts, is it exceptional and does it enable carbon savings in other domains?). Check it out on YouTube. My sincere thanks to my hosts for being exceptionally supportive, passionate and kind – and of course for all the Fika and sustainability discussions!
How did you stay warm the last two winters? (contribute to this research!)
As the heating season approaches & the energy crisis deepens, @Janine_Morley is taking stock of how UK residents kept warm over the last two winters when many spent longer at home. Please consider taking this survey, to inform her research!
Advance ICT Keynote on IoT and Sustainability
Delighted to be able to participate with my keynote talk in the SFI Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks for Sustainable Societies (ADVANCE CRT) annual event. Where I talked about the role of ICT and IoT in achieving a more sustainable future, and why many existing ‘efficiency’ narratives are simply too limited and just contribute to a discourse of delay. Slides are now available on slideshare.
FlipGig Knowledge Exchange Event
Enjoyed the final knowledge exchange event at Friends House Euston for the http://flipgig.org project on 29th April. If you want to find out how to improve conditions for gig delivery workers and sustainability of last mile logistics, then check out the slides and posters on our website. You may also find our briefing note (white paper) of interest.
Digital detox – rethinking data centre design (podcast)
Delighted to see our podcast interview with Hoare Lee published yesterday, drawing on our Patterns article and the Royal Society DTAP report. Kelly and I talking about the energy and carbon impacts of ICT, and reflecting on how we might start to think about accounting and governing this. We definitely namecheck Kelly’s new project (Paris-DE) focusing on ‘Paris compliant computing’ (read more).
Podcast context: “A digital detox is a common new year’s resolution, and the planet needs one on an industrial scale – our everyday internet actions contributing considerably to the climate emergency.”
The real climate and transformative impact of ICT
As part of a research project involving Adrian and I, we recently published a paper at Patterns on ‘The real climate and transformative impact of ICT: A critique of estimates, trends, and regulations’.
In this paper, we find that ICT forms somewhere between 2.1-3.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions when ICT’s full supply chains and environmental impacts are considered. We also uncover the assumptions that underpin experts’ estimates of ICT’s environmental impact, explore ICT trends which could increase the sector’s emissions, and find that sector-wide compliance is required to ensure ICT aligns with the Paris Agreement.
Read the full paper here. This work was also picked up by major news outlets including the Telegraph, the Times, Yahoo News, Phys.org, the Daily Mail UK, MSN and BBC Radio 4!
Talk on impacts of ICT to ISMB special session on ‘Computational Biology going Green’
Really enjoyed my talk and panel discussion at ISMB on considering impacts of both AI on energy footprint, but also the wider impacts of academic practice including conferences. [Talk slides]. I followed excellent and thought provoking talks by Roy Schwartz stressing increased need for reporting of computational budgets, and making efficiency an evaluation criterion for research alongside accuracy and related measures (toward ‘Green AI’); and Loïc Lannelongue on their ‘green algorithms’ project (link) – which estimates the energy/carbon intensity of AI on GPU clusters given a set of parameters.