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ICWES15 - A Digital Future and Resource Depletion. Presented by Jackie M Carpenter, UK


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ICWES15 - A Digital Future and Resource Depletion. Presented by Jackie M Carpenter, UK

  1. 1. A Digital Future and Resource Depletion by Jackie Carpenter BSc CEng MIMechE 22 July 2011 ICWES15 Adelaide
  2. 3. The Digital Age is new <ul><li>Computers were not around when I was born in 1950 </li></ul><ul><li>I didn’t see a PC until I was in my 30’s </li></ul><ul><li>We didn’t have microprocessors in washing machines, cars and printers </li></ul><ul><li>We didn’t have printers! </li></ul><ul><li>And no mobile phones either! </li></ul>
  3. 4. Resource depletion - oil <ul><li>Everything has changed fast in my life </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap oil has fuelled the changes </li></ul><ul><li>Faster and faster! </li></ul><ul><li>But the oil won’t last for much longer </li></ul><ul><li>It is a finite resource (one of many finite resources) </li></ul>
  4. 5. “ Peak Oil” is a big issue
  5. 6. Why is Peak Oil important? <ul><li>The peak for conventional oil was declared to be 2006 last year by WEO </li></ul><ul><li>Our society and economy depends on oil for transport, food, medicine </li></ul><ul><li>We could change to other energy sources, but we are not changing fast </li></ul><ul><li>1 gram of silicon chip needs 630 grams of fossil fuel </li></ul>
  6. 7. Peak Oil in Australia <ul><li>Your life-style includes driving huge distances, currently using oil </li></ul><ul><li>You rely on oil-powered ships to export coal, sugar etc. </li></ul><ul><li>If the economies of other countries collapse because of oil shortages, your markets will collapse </li></ul>
  7. 8. The oil age <ul><li>We are not “running out” of oil </li></ul><ul><li>At the peak, half is left </li></ul><ul><li>But the first half was cheap and easy </li></ul><ul><li>The second half will be expensive and hard-to-get </li></ul><ul><li>Competition from China etc too </li></ul><ul><li>Tar sands, shales, deep-water - all expensive and hard-to-get </li></ul>
  8. 10. Wait! “Peak Oil” is a myth! <ul><li>As energy shortages develop, we will find new sources of energy </li></ul><ul><li>People are clever; technology will solve all our problems </li></ul><ul><li>The current recession is temporary and we will soon be “back to normal” </li></ul>
  9. 11. Not a myth, but a new story <ul><li>We tell ourselves stories </li></ul><ul><li>We tell ourselves that next year is going to be the same as last year </li></ul><ul><li>Well, not quite the same, the details will be different </li></ul><ul><li>But we shall still drive about, have mobile phones and use computers. Won’t we? That is the first story. </li></ul>
  10. 12. A second story <ul><li>Here is a second story </li></ul><ul><li>The future will change faster than my life has changed so far </li></ul><ul><li>The only certainty is uncertainty </li></ul><ul><li>We will stop driving about in petrol cars - that at least is certain. (Is it?) </li></ul><ul><li>The Digital Age will continue </li></ul>
  11. 13. The second story <ul><li>Will computers stay with us? Yes! </li></ul><ul><li>As the price of petrol goes up, everyone will work from home more </li></ul><ul><li>Less transport will reduce climate change problems </li></ul><ul><li>We shall use our digital know-how to increase efficiency and develop green technologies </li></ul>
  12. 14. The second story <ul><li>More working-from-home will benefit women </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps women will be more flexible, quicker to change and adapt? </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps women will benefit from the “end of office politics”? </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps we can drive the changes and set the salaries? </li></ul>
  13. 15. Helicopter vision Is there a third story?
  14. 16. Not just oil shortages <ul><li>The Earth is finite </li></ul><ul><li>All non-renewable materials are finite </li></ul><ul><li>Computers, digital devices and other new technologies need materials that are in short supply </li></ul><ul><li>Important materials include gold, silver, platinum, indium, gallium, lithium and rare earths. </li></ul><ul><li>And water </li></ul>
  15. 18. Lead, copper, zinc
  16. 19. Gold
  17. 20. Lithium <ul><li>World resources are 9,813 k tonnes </li></ul><ul><li>(7,500 of these are in Chile) </li></ul><ul><li>That’s 1.5 kg per person </li></ul><ul><li>Not much for my laptop batteries, electric car and mobile phones! </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia says “used for disposable batteries” </li></ul><ul><li>What about my grandsons? </li></ul>
  18. 22. Rare earths
  19. 23. Third story <ul><li>The end of economic growth </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, growth in happiness </li></ul>
  20. 29. Older cultures <ul><li>Tribes of 50 - 100 people </li></ul><ul><li>Lived in the present. Free, no slavery. </li></ul><ul><li>Didn’t build up wealth </li></ul><ul><li>Considered themselves to be part of the world, part of Nature </li></ul><ul><li>They believed their destiny was to cooperate with the rest of creation </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable. Existed for 50,000 years </li></ul>
  21. 30. Community <ul><li>The third story could be a return to the sustainable Older Culture way </li></ul><ul><li>Going forward to a new future, not going backwards </li></ul><ul><li>Living in Community </li></ul><ul><li>Local food and energy </li></ul><ul><li>Good local technology </li></ul>
  22. 31. Trelay Community
  23. 32. The third story <ul><li>Will computers stay with us? </li></ul><ul><li>Maybe. </li></ul>
  24. 33. The third story <ul><li>The beginning of a more sustainable Digital Age </li></ul><ul><li>Great efforts to make computers locally, with local materials </li></ul><ul><li>New attitude to long life and re-use </li></ul><ul><li>Determination to maintain the web </li></ul>
  25. 34. The third story – challenges! <ul><li>Can we develop the technology to transmit power without wires - soon? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we find a way to make silicon chips on a small scale with low energy and water inputs? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we make computers that will last 100 years? </li></ul>
  26. 35. The third story <ul><li>The female way of thinking will become more important than the male way of thinking </li></ul>
  27. 36. A fourth story?
  28. 37. Doom for the human species!
  29. 38. “ At last they’ve gone!”
  30. 39. <ul><li>Jackie Carpenter </li></ul><ul><li>Trelay Farm, St Gennys, Bude, Cornwall </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>