Video: Building a Greener Web (Smashing Meets Goes Green)

Just before Christmas I spoke at Smashing Meets Goes Green an online event focused on digital sustainability. The video of my talk is now online, so if you’d like to know more about this vast topic, jump right in!

The second talk of the evening was by Gerry McGovern, whose fantastic book, World Wide Waste is packed with insights into the pollution caused by our digital lifestyles. Some of the statistics in his talk (and in the book itself) are downright terrifying, and a wakeup call to those of us working on the web. It’s well worth a watch.

We also participated in a panel discussion chaired by Vitaly. I found some of the questions tough to answer, as it’s hard to predict what will happen over the coming months and years, especially with things moving so fast in the field of AI. While Gerry is fairly unequivocal in his opinion that AI will be an overall negative force for sustainability, I’m a little more ambivalent. I can see cases where it might be useful in augmenting the green transition, not least because the company I work for is involved with AI for maintenance of wind turbines and nuclear decommissioning — two fields which could be highly dangerous for a human working manually, and where AI has the potential to accelerate the technologies required. Gerry made some great points about how increasing the technology tend to just increase the amount of energy expended, or the amount of stuff produced though (paraphrasing). Sometimes more technology isn’t the solution.

I don’t know anything for certain, but I’m trying to educate myself as best I can, and I love that we’re having these discussions. I hope you enjoy and learn something from them too.

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