How will Digitalization Change our Society?

Machines, products, and people are increasingly interconnected through information technology, but what are the consequences? Will we see a “smart green world”, with technological advances benefitting everyone – including the environment? Alternatively, are we heading towards a digital growth economy where money and power are bundled in the hands of a few, reaching the planetary boundaries even sooner? These questions are the starting point of the research group "Digitalization and Sustainability". It examines the opportunities and risks of digitalization for a reduction in energy and resource consumption and develops approaches for shaping digitalization politically and socially in a way that ensures its contribution to the necessary changes in society towards sustainability.

News

  • Smart Green World – Making Digitalization Work for Sustainability: Release of the Revised Book in English Language

    In their book "Smart Green World", Steffen Lange and Tilman Santarius investigate how digitalization influences environmental and social sustainability. The information revolution is currently changing the daily lives of billions of people worldwide. At the same time, the current economic model and consumerist lifestyle needs to be radically transformed if society is to overcome the challenges humanity is facing on a finite planet. Can the much-discussed disruption potential of digitalization be harnessed for this purpose? The book is published in May 2020 and is result of the project "Digitalization and socio-economic Transformation". Read more

  • Workshop “(How) can our digitalized society operate within planetary boundaries?”

    Nowadays, the resources and energy necessary to produce and use digital appliances oftentimes countervail the savings they induce. Furthermore, their usage in everyday life may induce additional consumption such as video streaming or online shopping, which also goes along with energy and resource demand. Thus, it currently looks like digitalization might intensify environmental problems, rather than solving them. In this workshop, we want to discuss how digital appliances should be designed to create a more sustainable society. Read more

  • Interview: Why Uber hurts public transport

    Fighting congestion is a worldwide challenge. But the claim “more car sharing, less traffic” has come under scrutiny lately. Tilman Santarius talked to the autoomated driving community 2025AD. Read more

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Funding

The project "Digitalization & Sustainability" is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung [BMBF] within the funding program "Junior research groups in Social-ecological research" (Nachwuchsgruppen in der Sozial-ökologischen Forschung). 

Funding Period: 05/2016 - 04/2021