Insights

Embracing sustainable digital design

How do you work sustainably as a digital professional? If you are a producer of code or content then you are a producer of CO2. How do you ensure your digital activities produce as little CO2 as possible? Better still, how do you ensure that your digital work is useful enough that it saves more… Read More »

Top Tasks and COVID-19

One of the most important things I’ve learned as a result of observing the voting intentions of some 500,000 people in more than 100 countries is that there are indeed top tasks that are universal. With Toyota we found that there are universal top tasks in relation to how Europeans approach buying a car. With… Read More »

Google’s increasingly dark shadow

Timnit Gebru, a leader and pioneer in the ethics of Artificial Intelligence at Google, was working with colleagues on a new research paper. The paper addressed some of the dangers inherent in the Google approach to AI, including data center energy consumption and the impact on marginalized groups. AI is well known to be a… Read More »

The data pollution problem

In 2020 we will create, capture, copy, and consume almost 60 zettabytes of data. By 2025, it will be 200 zettabytes, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. By 2035, there will be more than 2,000 zettabytes of data in the world. In my interview with data expert Nick Evanson I asked him to calculate how much it… Read More »

How science let us down during the pandemic

We need good science today more than ever. We need a calm, logical, rigorous, scientific way of thinking and acting. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, science and the scientific community often let society down. We must understand why and what must be done to lessen the chances of it happening again. Scientists are human, all… Read More »

We need to do more about electronic waste

When it comes to making products, the technology industry has a circular economy. It goes to poorer countries and pays them as little as possible for the raw materials. Once the products are old, it dumps the e-waste back in poor countries where it will be ‘recycled’. The recycling generally involves burning the e-waste in… Read More »

Moving fast breaks things

In the physical world, there are certain speed limits beyond which there is a huge jump in energy requirements and a major jump in dangers for humans. These limits exist in the digital world too. As speed increases, energy demands rise, waste explodes and the likelihood of humans losing control and making the wrong decisions… Read More »

Reducing energy waste in digital

Using more and more energy does not lead to more happiness. After a certain point there are diminishing returns. In fact, too much energy leads to obesity in the body and overload in the mind. “The drastic increases in societies’ energy use seen in recent decades have, beyond a certain point, had no benefit for… Read More »

Use your brain

Which is more efficient at searching: the human brain or Google? The average Google search takes about .2 seconds to process, consuming about .3 watts per search. The human brain consumes about 20 watts of energy every hour, or .005 watts per second. For a brain to do a “search” lasting .2 seconds would require… Read More »

Web, we have a problem

Humans are not used to abundance. For millions of years, we wanted. A steady supply of food was rarely guaranteed. It is only in the last 100 years that food has become more abundant. We can’t cope. It’s estimated that one-third of food that is bought is wasted. Even much of the food we eat… Read More »