do d9 $ midicmd "stop" # s "midi" hush let melody = slow 6 $ "0 2 [4 8 .] [3 4 3] 8 4 9" do cps (86/60/2) d9 $ midicmd "midiClock*48" # s "midi" d1 $ note ((scaleP scalePattern $ off 4 ((+ 2 ).slow 2) $ off 1 (inversion.slow 2) $ off 3 (inversion.slow 3) $ off 1.5 ((+ 2).rev.slow 2) $ generateMelodicSeed ))#s "[pe-gtr:10,midi]" #gain 1 #orbit 0 #midichan 1

The Climate Impact of High-Tech

Technology often has the outward appearance of cleanliness and is marketed in a way as to make it appear free from ecological consequence.

Unfortunately, almost all parts of computing involve negative impact on the climate crisis.

supply chain

The production of digital memory and processors require the acquisition of rare and difficult to mine materials. (TODO source) Mining, producing, and shipping these components has a large carbon footprint.

forced obsolescence

If the carbon footprint of component construction cannot be avoided, we should try to reuse and repair our technology as much as possible as opposed to buying new devices. This is made increasingly difficult by technology companies that wish to secure a continuous source of revenue from the consumer. Laptops and smartphones are increasingly difficult to repair and manufactures are increasingly reticent to assist with repair. Some have become openly hostile toward individuals attempting to repair their technology. For example, Apple has, on multiple occasions, sued individuals for repairing Apple laptops and phones. Apple also has purposefully rendered products with after-market repair inoperable. I don’t mean to pick on apple, this kind of anti-competitive behavior is the norm.

Waiting for the hardware to fail takes too long. Tech companies can secure revenue even faster by making their software more demanding over time. This renders perfectly good devices inoperable as updates to the operating system, or the software that runs on it become incompatible and/or un-performant. (see: Wirth’s Law)

As computers are embedded into more and more things (eg “smart” TV, appliances, tractors, cars, ect..), software can render more and more consumer goods unusable over time and a faster and more controllable interval.

This can even our revenue at great cost to the consumer and to the planet.

The main response from large manufacturers like Apple has been to promise improvements to their inadequate recycling infrastructure.

power consumption

Computers use a lot of power. The modern internet with its endless feeds, streaming content, and feature rich front end gave rise to “cloud” infrastructure. Cloud computing is nothing more than enormous redundant data centers where servers are shared among many tenants. These data centers consume a lot of power. As our technology becomes more feature rich (read: slower) and networked demands more ubiquitous (eg. dumb Smart Devices and the internet of sh*t things) its power demands become every higher.

system cost

Even if you are able to source your energy from renewable means, there is no guarantee that the cloud infrastructure that your are forced to interact with will. Even if every part of the cloud infrastructure you interact with sources its power from renewable means, the system overall is consuming power budget that could have gone to other purposes. Also, the embodied carbon cost of the massive amount of equipment required to maintain the infrastructure is, on its own, untenable.

solutions

The Right to repair movement has sought to combat the practices of manufacturers to force the obsolescence of their products.

The advent of open source hardware has created basic opportunities for startups and communities that prioritize repairable and modular computers (eq. MTN Reform, Framework laptop, Fairphone), as well as longer lasting compatablilty for operating systems and software(eg. Lightweight linux distributions, lineage OS)

This effort is mirrored by software developers, artists, and designers working to create simpler, more performant, and more resilient software and operating systems. (eg. 100 rabbits’ UXN, Collapse OS) Many of these efforts have the additional goal of creating technology that would be functional and useful in the event of the collapse of the global supply chain and the failure of global economic forces.


Notes mentioning this note



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