With the current digital transformation initiatives across the globe, we are currently dreaming of a world where artificial intelligence will eventually create a world self organized around the goals of efficiency and greater productivity.
And we are engaged on this path while committing to remain in the +2 degrees climate scenario. We are putting our entire faith and soul on technology hoping that our innovative technological marvel will save us like a Deus ex machina, out of nowhere. Mind you, that’s how all of us have been formatted, in our schools and leadership programs, truly convinced that some hidden free market deities will intervene and reward us.
But what if this does not happen at all? What if these beliefs in an almighty technology are pure fantasy?
After all, when you look at the requirements needed for this digital transformation and the energy transition, you start to see that all the resources needed to convert the analog world to the digital world are mind boggling. To build all these new electrical vehicles, all these new electrical networks, all these sensors and servers, all these digital infrastructures embedded in new bridges and roads, all these initiatives to convert older polluting technologies to sustainable and clean digital technology, all this will require a staggering amount of resources. Mining experts estimate that within a constrained scenario of +2 degrees for climate change, the new technological and energy transition will require the following consumption within the next 3 decades; 90% of copper known reserves, 87% of known reserves of beauxite, 83% of known reserves of cobalt, 60% for nickel, 30% for lithium.
That is staggering isn’t it? Some of the same experts are now concerned; the very efforts we are initiating to mitigate the very causes that lead to climate change, are actually leading to even greater damaging effects than the ones we are trying to avoid.
Which leads me back to Dune. In that novel, we are placed somewhere in the future, thousands of years ahead. And civilizations seem to have transcended technology. They seem to have taken what they needed from it and even imposed boundaries with it. We may want to examine this relationship that we have with technology while it’s still time. Because using between 30% to 90% of reserves of the most essential resources in such a short amount of time does not seem that sustainable to me.
And we might even discover, sooner than we think, that the very countries that have been able to preserve and protect their environment are the ones that are going to be the best prepared to handle the challenges of climate change.
So what if we each prepared individually for a world where less of these reserves are going to be needed? We may even have to reintroduce some elements of analog technology in our daily lives. This may sound far fetched, but it may have to come much sooner than we think.
Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.