Tech for Good or Greenwashing? Rethinking the Digital Footprint

The article points out that instead of focusing only on the benefits of technology, we should also consider its potential harms and ethical dimensions. It emphasizes that technology should be used for the welfare of humanity and that environmental and social responsibilities should be considered in this process

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Tech for Good or Greenwashing? Rethinking the Digital Footprint

In addition to digital technologies, we are in a period of increasing conflicts for technology dominance between countries and between companies. These conflicts are taking place in an environment where various methods are deployed to ignore the potential problems of technology applications (social, ecological, economic, psychological, physical, etc.) rather than economic value. In order to counter criticism, the main actors avoid real debates by promoting various side issues. In this way, they aim to achieve success by creating illusions in society and the real issues are overlooked.

A segment of what can be described as the “Information Age Generation” is overwhelmed by the search for solutions to technological problems, especially by taking digital services out of their current comfort zone. Their efforts in this regard are to be applauded, but most of these efforts benefit the structures that control technology rather than their own future.

Especially when addressing issues such as the supply, production, operation and energy consumption of materials used in the installation of digital technological systems, it is necessary to question the potential destruction as well as the benefits. When criticizing the use, deployment and conditions of use of technology, we do not see technology as the enemy. Instead, we emphasize avoiding a hostile approach by using technology for the well-being of humanity.

Today’s dominant digital technologies bring to the agenda “cyberspace” and a “politics” that ensures its control. We can predict that conflicts in this field will lead to significant changes in world politics.

However, the materials used in the field of digital technology need to be considered in terms of their operation, the development of their properties and energy consumption. Behind each digital system lie large physical systems and problems.

For example, for the screen of a digital device to be touchscreen, the requirements of the elements used and the processes for processing these elements must be taken into account.

The number of digital devices is growing rapidly, with an estimated 40 billion units. The total weight of these devices is around 250 million tons and they consume more than 20 percent of the total electrical energy. These figures show the scale of the energy and material supply struggles that lie behind information technology.

Digital technologies have created systems dependent on monopolies, both in terms of machine technology and software. These systems have created an ever-growing cycle that feeds them. However, we should not ignore the damage this process does to nature.

The monopolization and rapid growth of digital technologies is not a competition issue, but a challenge. We must address this issue in line with needs and not lose sight of the destruction that lies behind it.


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