Maximalism and Virtualism

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2021-07-20 21:00:07

Recently, even mainstream politics has finally begun to wake up to the fact that the ongoing environmental catastrophe cannot be overcome by superficial twiddling alone, but that consumption of all kinds must be reduced at all levels, and lifestyles must change along with it.

The evolution of the material and energetic facilities of computing over the last half century has been described by Moore's Law, which says that the physical size of transistors halves every two years. This development has made possible, for example, cheap personal computers, but has also instilled in the industry an attitude that it is okay to waste resources - after all, in a few years there will be twice as much of them. This indifference has also provided an excuse to shorten hardware life cycles, thus multiplying the environmental problems associated with electronics industry and e-waste.

Now, the physical limits of downsizing are being reached, and Moore's Law has been predicted to end by 2025. With the current trends, this would mean that global energy consumption of information technology will explode unless attitudes towards the technology are changed by both its developers and users.

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