Am kommenden Dienstag, 12. Mai 2020 werde ich vor der Phil.-nat. Fakultät der Universität Bern von 13:30h bis 14:30h meinen Habilitationsvortrag zu digitaler Nachhaltigkeit halten – ironischerweise mittels Zoom und YouTube Streaming
Update 21. Mai 2020: Die Phil.-nat. Fakultät hat meine Habilitation angenommen und die Universitätsleitung hat mir somit die sogenannte “Venia docendi” und den Titel “Privatdozent” verliehen. Hier ist nun die Zusammenfassung meiner 13 Publikationen rund um digitale Nachhaltigkeit veröffentlicht (natürlich verfasst mittels LibreOffice und Zotero): Perspectives on Digital Sustainability
Digital sustainability – a concept for the digitalized future
The notion of sustainable development originates from a time without computers and Internet. Today, the use of information and communication technology (ICT) is ubiquitous affecting our society in multiple ways. On the one hand, the total energy consumption of data centers, networks, sensors and end user devices is rising by 9% per year and is expected to reach about 3800 TWh in 2020, causing more global greenhouse gas emissions than the entire civil air transport (even before Corona). On the other hand, the global datasphere is estimated to grow from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 zettabytes in 2025. The big five US corporations Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft (GAFAM) control much of this data making them more powerful than the Japanese economy, the third largest economy of the world: The combined market capitalization of GAFAM amounts to USD 5.4 trillion, more than the Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 5.1 trillion.
Thus, much digital knowledge is under corporate control leading to a loss of value for the society. Therefore, the concept of sustainability needs to be expanded: not only the physical world with its ecological, social and economic resources but also the virtual world with its capital of digital knowledge must be protected. “Digital sustainability” represents a novel concept connecting digitalization with sustainability. In order to serve society in the long term digital artifacts such as software or data need to meet technical characteristics of quality, transparency, semantics and diversified locations. In addition, their associated ecosystem of businesses, governments, and individuals must also meet legal and organizational characteristics like open licenses, shared tacit knowledge, participation, good governance, and diversified funding. And finally, sustainable digital artifacts must also lead to ecological, societal and economical benefits.
The habilitation lecture will introduce the challenges of digitalization and its connection with sustainable development. The basic conditions for digital sustainability are presented and applied to the current example of the new Swiss COVID-19 proximity tracing mobile apps.