Research Seminar – Mike Hazas

Data Hungry: Online Services and Energy Demand

Mike Hazas – Lancaster University

Thursday 3rd October 4pm, Inspace

The Internet and online services account for about 9% of global electricity demand.  Moreover, the growth in energy of online services and data shows no sign of slowing, with even conservative models predicting that online services and devices will rise to 20% of global electricity over the next decade.  The growth is unsustainable, unchecked, and represents a threat to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This talk outlines what we know about online services and their use in everyday life.  It identifies the central challenges and traffic categories, from an energy perspective.  Finally, it covers how those across society might address the problem, from everyday users, to application and service designers, and policymakers.

Mike Hazas is a Reader in digital practices and sustainability in the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University.  He is an interdisciplinary academic (PhD Mobile Computing; BA Sociology) who works at the interface of human-computer interaction, embedded systems and studies of social practice.  He interrogates how digital systems such as learning thermostats, smartphones, superfast broadband, and robotic vacuum cleaners contribute to increasing standards for comfort and service provision, and thus tend to ratchet energy demand and carbon emissions.  Mike envisions futures quite the opposite, where digital technologies and infrastructures shift society in less resource-intensive directions.

Inspace, 1 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9YL