ICT and Sustainability

Written by FINGLO


UN defines sustainable development as something that satisfies the need of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet own needs. ICTs are playing a vital role in development and changes, impacting individuals, economy, society and even nation. Digitization is showing its impacts more abundantly as – effecting the relationship of economy and individual and changing our daily lives by altering the way ways of shopping, transportation, education, entertainment, etc. in regard to ICTs, it enables greater access to basic services of the society and improves the way they are provided. This is plainly done through sustainable digitization of services that we see today. As in the past and the current context, worlds economy has faced and is facing economic crisis with degradation of environment and unequal development of society. Here ICT is likely to play an important role to better the economy, society through sustainable development. 

Technology and ICT is something which has been around for many years and will be here for many more. There have been numerous advancement in technology in over the last decade. Things like mobile learning, cloud computing, medical advancements etc. are just a few of the advancements. In current context billions of people worldwide are using internet and are indulged with some sort of communication technology. Along with technological advancements, ICT has been growing exponentially and is driven by the advancement in electronics, networking, digital and physical hardware, etc. We are living in a world that is driven by technology, there is new technology being developed and deployed almost every day. Sustainable ICTs involves the question of – can ICT benefit the society or harm it in current as well as future context and this has been a matter of discussion in various context.  

According to the report by European commission, the advancements in fields like telecommunication, big-data, blockchain, cloud technologies, robotics, etc. has been fulling the drive for  ICT in current context of the world. People have gone from manual labor to automated, manual machines to automatic machines, better securities and infrastructures have been developed. This has all been accomplished due to the development in the ICT sector. Even many countries have been focused on the ICT and are moving forward with various researches on them,  some of the main projects that are being pushed forward are related to Space exploration, artificial intelligence, automation, AR and VR experience, clouds cyber security. With each advancement there is always a need to better it, as we are driven by knowledge to be curious and find things that help us and our society.  

As with everything the impact of ICT can be positive and negative on the society, this is in regards to the machinery which produce high levels of harmful gases, energy consumption, recycling electronic waste, etc. This impact trend is seen in an inverted – U relationship according to the report by DoloresAñón Higón on ICT and environmental sustainability. But with every advancement the impact is being lessened and a more sustainable development driven ICT is being put forward. 

Whatever the advancement in technology be, the ICT services will be needed to keep it running and functioning. Without communication among the technological objects they will be like a lifeless vessel unable to perform their task with full efficiency. 

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The figure1 above gives a more relatable idea on what the function of ICT is in the world and its various aspects or sectors.  

We hear mostly about technological development but seldom do we think about the sustainability of it.  we  are primarily focused on only the development aspect of technology and forget to view its impacts and consequences. But non the less the virtuous triangle of ICT (above) gives a clear picture of how ICT is centrally located in the context of sustainability and ICT and sustainability has been a prime factor affecting various sectors of the world. We must keep in mind that sustainability needs ongoing transformation of resource production and consumption to reduce various harms. And the main approach ICT is doing this is through digitization  and optimization. 

In the case of the current world, there is no end to technological advancement and professionals have been going about many ways to bring new advancement in the field, this in turn keeps ICT from phasing out. So we can concretely presume that ICT and its various services are here to stay for the long run, the services may change and they may be updated but ICT will remain an integral part of us and the society. None of the technological advancement can deteriorate ICT’s foothold in the current world as ICT is needed by many technology to properly function.

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