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The Growth of Internet Services and Energy Demand - Is there a Limit?

When Mar 13, 2016 02:00 PM to
Nov 30, 2016 04:00 PM
Where Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT
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  • Speaker: Dr Mike Hazas, Department of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University 

This talk considers the nature of growth in data traffic across the Internet, as a basis for asking whether and how such growth might slow down or otherwise be limited. Over the last decade, data growth has been dramatic, and forecasts predict a similar ongoing pattern. Since this is associated with increasing electricity consumption, such a trend is significant to global efforts to reduce carbon emis- sions. In this paper, we selectively explore aspects of data growth that are linked to everyday practices and the way they draw upon and generate Internet data. We suggest that such growth does have some conceivable limits. However, the nature of ‘Internet use’ is changing and forms of growth are emerging that are more disconnected from human ac- tivity and time-use. This suggests that although there may well be limits, in principle, to some forms of growth, total data traffic seems likely to continue growing. This calls for careful attention to the nature of the trends involved, as a basis for intentionally building limits into this system be- fore levels of Internet electricity demand becomes directly and more explicitly problematic.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Clare Dyer-Smith.

This talk is part of the Ethics of Big Data series.

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