The purpose of this paper is to review environmental aspects of information and communication technology (ICT) and the negative impact is shown to be large, though offset by positive features. A major proposal by Bill Gates for a novel nuclear power source is welcomed. Environmental considerations affecting conferences, including WOSC triennial congresses, are discussed.
The aim is to review developments on the internet, especially those of general cybernetic interest.
The power consumption and consequent environmental impact of ICT is much greater than is generally realised, but is offset by many positive aspects. It has been suggested that plentiful nuclear power may be available from fission of uranium‐238, and this could vastly improve the global situation.
There is clearly a need to make computers as energy‐efficient as possible, partly by utilising waste heat from large installations. Digital techniques operate in very many ways to save energy, with one minor but intriguing example provided by computer control of a means of starting internal combustion engines using a combination of batteries and capacitors. The proposal by Bill Gates for a travelling‐wave reactor definitely merits further examination.
It is hoped this is a valuable periodic review.
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