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Electronics < > Ecologies #3 — ENERGY
November 21 - November 22
The third instalment in our Electronics < > Ecologies series, ENERGY foregrounds the work of engineers and activists influencing the trajectory of resource use in today’s tech industry.
The IT sector currently accounts for somewhere between 1-4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with some scholars suggesting this will rise to at least 14% by 2040. These estimates predate the release of popular AI applications such as ChatGPT, and reflect generations of engineering training and business incentives that measured success in terms of size, accuracy and latency.
ENERGY begins with a book roundtable with the authors of Digital Energetics, and an overview of environmental advocacy in tech companies and global non-profits. (Download Digital Energetics for free in advance of the discussion; and take a look at recent reports by Tamara Kneese for AI Now and the Green Software Foundation). The third talk will share findings from new research on engineers grappling with sustainability questions in daily work.
Image credit – Zane Griffin Talley Cooper.
Wednesday 22nd AU / Tuesday 21st US (Hybrid)
Digital Energetics – A book roundtable
- Zane Cooper, University of Pennsylvania
- Cindy Lin, Penn State University
- Anne Pasek, Trent University
- Jordan Kinder, Wilfrid Laurier University
From Socially Useful to Responsible Tech: Learning From Histories of Environmental Justice and Labor Rights in Silicon Valley and Beyond
- Tamara Kneese, Data & Society
Making it Work: What AI Developers Do and Don’t Want to Do to Reduce Emissions
- Dawn Nafus, Intel Labs
Informed by these talks, an afternoon workshop will allow ADM+S scholars to debate, refine and apply relevant insights to existing projects, with a view to further collaborations.
Applications for the in-person workshop must include an Expression of Interest with a paragraph describing relevant work or research in progress by November 15.
All talks for Day 1 and Day 2 will be online.
The Day 2 afternoon workshop will be held in-person at the ADM+S Centre, RMIT University, and requires separate registration.
Dr Melissa Gregg
Melissa Gregg is a consultant on sustainable and responsible technology design and an International Advisory Board Member for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society (ADM+S). For the past decade, she led User Experience Research in the Client Computing Group at Intel, driving a range of product initiatives including the research that launched Intel EVO laptops. As Senior Principal Engineer in the Software and Advanced Technology Group, she established the first product team focused on carbon reduction and green software to achieve corporate-wide Net Zero commitments.
Dawn Nafus is a Senior Research Scientist at Intel Labs, where she manages the Sociotechnical Systems team. Her current research focus is on AI and climate change, with an emphasis on the changing infrastructures of computation. She is the editor of Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life (MIT Press, 2016), co-author of Self-Tracking (MIT Press 2016) and co-editor of Ethnography for a Data-Saturated World (Manchester University Press, 2018).
Zane Griffin Talley Cooper
Zane Griffin Talley Cooper is a PhD Candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Research on Global Communication. His research broadly concerns the intersections and relations between data infrastructures, energy production, and resource extraction in the Arctic. A multimodal scholar with a passion for sustainability, he has held positions at Intel, the Civic Software Foundation, and the McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, where, in various capacities, he has explored the nexus of technology and environmental justice. His work has found its way into journals, art exhibits, design projects, film festivals, and he is the Co-Principal Investigator of Geographies of Digital Wasting: Electronic Waste From Mine to Discard and Back Again, a global grant project funded by the Internet Society Foundation. Cooper holds an M.A. in History from California State University San Marcos and a B.F.A. in Film Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Cindy Lin is an ethnographer and information science assistant professor at the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University. Her first single-authored book project explores statecraft and computing practices in the environmental and mapping sciences in Indonesia and the professional identities and government institutions that emerged from these efforts.
Anne Pasek is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Media, Culture, and the Environment at Trent University, cross-appointed between Cultural Studies and the School of the Environment. Her research explores the cultural politics of climate change, with a particular emphasis on the social and technical means through which carbon is enumerated and mobilized within the tech sector, academia, and the arts. She is also the director of the Low-Carbon Research Methods Group, a network of scholars examining the social impacts of decarbonizing academic work, and the Experimental Methods & Media Lab, a hub for critical making at Trent.
Jordan B. Kinder
Jordan B. Kinder is a scholar of media studies and the energy and environmental humanities from a resource town in what is now called northern British Columbia, Canada. He is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Alberta, and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. For the 2023-2024 academic year, he is also a research associate with the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University. Jordan’s first sole-authored book, Petroturfing: Refining Canadian Oil through Social Media, will be out with the University of Minnesota Press in Spring 2024.
Tamara Kneese is a Senior Researcher and Project Director of Data & Society’s Algorithmic Impact Methods Lab. Before joining D&S, she was Lead Researcher at Green Software Foundation, Director of Developer Engagement on the Green Software team at Intel, and Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Director of Gender and Sexualities Studies at the University of San Francisco. Tamara holds a PhD in Media, Culture and Communication from NYU and is author of Death Glitch: How Techno-Solutionism Fails Us in This Life and Beyond.