Digitalization: Effect of it on the eco-system

The recently concluded Copenhagen summit on climate change and non-conclusion of the countries on any accord made me wonder what could be the thing that can bring about a change in the eco-system… The answer was staring on my face. Digital.

The growth of Internet and Mobile has been so phenomenal; I guess today most of us cannot imagine a life without this two. Most of the stuff we do in our professional or personal life is eased due to the use of these technologies. Some of the areas that will have direct impact of digital would be:

- Travel & Transport
- Automotive
- Entertainment
- Shopping & Banking
- Media

Trends rising out digitalization of our world:

- We will travel less for work or personal reasons. In fact most of my work can be done Out of Office. Similarly, as we shift more and more into services economy from manufacturing economy…. Digital would help in fulfillment thus reducing the need of physical presence. Video Conferencing especially in the personal space – From Home2Home or Mobile2Mobile would drastically help in reducing travel
- The fewer face2face interactions would mean that people are not too worried about the way they dress. This would mean fewer spends on buying Clothes, and cosmetics :)
- Lesser use of paper – With e-readers becoming a norm, soon there will be lesser demand for paper, and fewer trees would be felled
- Acceptance of e-money: One of the prime reasons for people to visit the stores happens to be ‘experience’ the shopping… seeing and feeling the things are of prime importance. Or so we are made to believe. The actual reason why traders want us to ‘come’ to their shop is they want us to be in their premise (and in a way under their influence) & more importantly the possession of physical money on transactions. But more and more people making up their mind of buying a specific item by searching for the info on the net (current trend) – will soon be getting onto the next stage of making payments through e-money
- The need for lesser travel would mean that the dependence on personal mode of transport would be lower. Hence the need for buying multiple vehicles per household would decrease
- On personal front, I realize that watching movies in theatre is only for ‘experience’… while most of the movies I watch are on the TV (Movies on demand) – this would mean that lesser movie prints, lesser trips to theatres, etc
- Recycling of existing materials – this would mean that extracting the limited resource from the earth would reduce

I’m sure there would be many more that can be added to the above list. Your inputs on the same are welcome

However, there could be down-side of this digitalization of our world and works… some of the things I can think are –

- Increase consumption of electricity… this would mean increase in consumption of coal (I’m told that most of the electricity production in the world is thermal)… while I am sure that alternate sources of energy would increase in the years to come (mostly Nuclear, Hydro sources, and very less of solar and wind energy source) but burning coal would have a huge impact on the climate
- Health & wellness – Most the digitalization activity would mean that your physical activities would come down, which could have a negative impact on health. Obesity might increase :)

I’m sure that slowly and surely, the digitalization of our world would have a positive impact on the climate.

Cheers

Santosh

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