Wicked Digital Dilemmas: Unintended Consequences and Hidden Opportunities in the Democratized Digital Age
This talk will focus on two areas of emerging concern in Information Technology: our seemingly brittle individual and societal relationships to the digital data we now produce on an ever-increasing scale; and the implications of ubiquitous computing for a carbon-constrained world. We will examine the historical role of archives and libraries and compare that to contemporary digital data preservation. Bits are notoriously ephemeral, yet we all dive enthusiastically into the digital future without perhaps stopping to ask some important questions. Also, as more and more people gain access to the digital revolution, we will discuss the risk that we are creating a digital "Tragedy of the Commons" by exporting our carbon-intense digital habits to the entire world. We'll look behind the computer screen to try to understand the implications of our digital lifestyles in a carbon-constrained world and ask if that approach is sustainable and scaleable. We will examine how technology might be part of the problem, but also how it might ultimately help us solve the problem of global climate change. Finally, we'll talk about new techniques that are emerging for solving some of the world's oldest and most intractable problems, such as piracy (no, not digital piracy...real swashbuckling pirates on the high seas) and the broad societal collapse that causes it.