The Royal Society | You and the planet: technology

The Royal Society | You and the planet: technology

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Do. Well hello. And welcome to this royal society, and event, you, and, the planet. Um i'm maggie philbin, you may know me as a reporter. From programs, like tomorrow's, world, and bango's, the theory. I also, lead an organization. Called team tech which is a name might imply, it's all about helping, young people. Understand, about emerging, technologies. And the role they might want to play in them. Now if you've taken part in some of the earlier, events. You will know that this is the sixth one, in a series, and the thing that they have, in common. Is that they're all about, taking, a long hard look, at, what we need to do if we really want to, ensure, that human, activity. Protects. And, enhances. The health of the planet. Now, today's, event, is going to very much focus. On the role, of, digital, technology. And its potential. To play a very. Large, part. In the whole question, of climate, change. And, one of the reasons we're doing this event today. Is because the royal society, have, launched. A brand new report, on this subject, well worth taking a look at i can tell you called digital, technology. And the planet. So um we're not expecting, you to have read that up front of this event. But as i say it's well worth dipping into. So, um just a few, housekeeping. Points before, i introduce, you to the amazing, panel, who are going to be with us this evening. This is very much. Your, event. And. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone. Who has sent in questions, we're going to try and get through as many, as we, possibly, can. And, if you haven't had an opportunity, to send in questions, yet there is still time. Um if you, go to. And you may have this app already, on your phone, or, on your laptop. But And the event, code, is. Z589. Um i will constantly, repeat that throughout, this, whole session, so, no excuses, for not joining in, and that gives you an opportunity. Not only, to ask lots of questions. But also, to take part in some of our polls, and, and some of our, online. Quizzes. Um which, you know, really. Very much helps, with the whole direction. Of, discussion, because i say, this is your event. And it can only be your event if you're the ones, in the driving, seat. Um a couple of other things, if you want live captioning, that is also, available if you just go down to the um the bottom bar there you'll see subtitles. And closed captions, so just, click on that, and. We, would, love you to, tweet about the event, so that we can, amplify. All of the learning. All of the questions. Everything. That that you hear, um, particularly, the things that you might disagree, with, um, so, that. We've got, a twitter hashtag, which is you, and the planet so very easy to, uh remember. Please make sure that you join in. So. Let's meet, our, panel. So we've got four brilliant, people i'm going to introduce, you to the first and, first of them now, um corrine, laquare. So, she is the royal society, research, professor, of climate, change science. At the university. Of east anglia. So good evening corinne. Oh hello, everyone, i'm so pleased to be here. Uh i work on, understanding. The emissions. Of carbon dioxide. In the atmosphere, and with where they go and. Where they go in the environment. I sit on the, uk, committee, on climate, change. So, as part, of, my own research. I use a digital, technology. To get the data to say what it means, and as part of my work with the committee, on climate change, i work on understanding. How to reduce, these emissions. Excellent, so obviously we'll be hearing more from corinne, very shortly, um next we have shakira, mohammed, he is the. A south african research, scientist. And a lead at deep mind. And also a member, of the royal society's. Diversity. Committee. So, hello shakira. Hi everyone. Um i work in the field of machine learning and artificial, intelligence, so, that means i'm interested, in everything to do with data. And computers. And mathematics. And he can bring all of those things together. To try and tackle, some of our world's, complex, challenges, so i work every day with the data from the environment. With weather patterns. Making predictions, and i'm so excited, to be here part of this conversation, today. Yeah we're delighted, to have you as well um and then moving on to. Victor, oharagu. Who is, the, senior, africa regional manager, for the global partnership, for sustainable. Development. Data. Based at the un, foundation. Uh hello victor. Hi thank you so much for having me on this program, uh so i work with the global partnership, for sustainable, development, data. My role basically, uh involves.

Uh Having you know technical and political, engagement, with several countries in africa. And you know uh which aims to support, them in harnessing, support. From a wide range of stakeholders. Including, private sector civil society. Research academia. On how to close the gaps on data. That is required, for sustainable. Development. And of course for the sdgs. And this includes, also, uh leveraging. Technologies. That could be used to address, issues like climate, change, you know environmental. Degradation. Deforestation. Water quality, issues. Etc. Thank you. Brilliant, thanks very much victor. And, uh last but not least we've got emily. Shakabura. She is a mathematician. And climate, scientist. And director. Of cambridge, zero. At the university. Of cambridge, is also, a reader, in environmental. Data science. She's. Co-author. With his royal highness. The, prince of wales, and tony juniper. Of the lady bird book on climate, change, and i'm willing to bet emily that that was probably the hardest, bit of writing. That you had to do because, often when you, really try to synthesize. Things for young people, it's, a big challenge. Oh no you're absolutely right there maggie it was um, but it was also incredibly, enjoyable, to write that book um, it was one of the, might be one of the hardest but most one of the most enjoyable, things that i've ever written, um so as you say i'm director, of cambridge, zero at the university, of cambridge which is the university's. Response, to climate, change and to supporting, a zero, carbon, society. And my own personal, research, interests, are heavily involved, in, looking to see how we can use data, and analytics. To better, understand. Our changing climate, and also, the broader, risks, in terms of, the threats to our natural world. Excellent, right, i'm going to be coming to the panel with the first audience, question, in a moment. But, before, i ask that, um i'm gonna put a question, to you so now's the time. Get out your, app, um, and. Check out If you're not already there, uh the code just to remind you. Z589. Uh because, what we would like to do is just to get a sense. Of, your, thinking. Around, this whole. Subject. So if you go in there you'll see that our first, question, is. What technology. Do you think, that we will see in the future. That could help with this issue. So what technology. Do you think, that we'll see in the. Future. So if you just like to um. Put your responses. In there. Then. We'll see, what you say and we're going to build a bit of a word cloud. And then what i'm going to do is come back to that, at the end of the evening, um i will repeat the question, so it's really important you get your answers in now, and just see if there's been, any shift, in your, thinking. So. Panel. Um i hope you're ready for our first.

Question. Which is um this comes from a member of the audience, it was posted, in advance. Um and and this member, of the audience, asks, um, this is bear by the way she does muscle in on everything. What are some of the ways, that you think, technology. Could really help to address. Climate, change. Um, and, what. They're particularly, wanting to see, are specific. Examples. So who'd like to kick us off, with this just put your hand up if. Awesome. Excellent. On you go emily, shall i go first well i'm we're already seeing lots of ways in which technology, is helping, so we know that we need to reduce our emissions, rapidly across all sectors of the economy. In the energy sector we're already seeing, um the way in which technology, is being used. To help, on wind farms, be uh more efficient, in their operation. In the building, sector, will, people might be starting to be aware that, people in their own homes might have smart meters. Using our energy more efficiently. Um in the transport, sector well we're all doing things more virtually, so we're not traveling. At the moment that's one example that we're already using. In terms of agriculture. There's increasing, opportunities. Of using chinese, and agriculture. To make those agricultural, processes, more efficient. In terms of looking at ways of reducing, waste, we can use technology. To try and enhance, a more, create a more circular, economy with less waste in it and tracking emissions, through supply chains for example. And. Finally. We might be in the future looking at ways of trying to, actually, remove. Greenhouse, gases, from the atmosphere. And we can use, um technology, digital, technologies. To um to help look at ways in which we can, enhance, um, natural. Methods, of removing. Those greenhouse, gases, perhaps by restoring, peatlands, and looking at. How we can most effectively, do that. Or, looking at technological. Ways, and we can look to see how we can use. Digital, technologies. To speed up the innovation. Time, for some of those technologies. Well so that's really um a very comprehensive. Answer who would like to. Build on, that. Okay let's go over to you karen. I mean i just want to talk about my frustration. In my home. And the frustration, is i need my glasses. To read. The, the the. The temperature, level, in the radiator. In the living room, so i go to watch television. Then i'm, going to bed afterwards. And. Somehow, one day out of two i turn the radiator. The wrong way before i go to bed, and the living room ends up, heating the whole night for absolutely. Nothing. And that absolutely, infuriates, me because i think i'm a climate scientist, i should do better than this. And i think, their. Digital, technology. Could help me, i mean if there could be just some kid either that guesses, that every day i watch television, from, you know eight to nine and then go to bed, and then puts the temperature, at the right temperature, for the night. I mean wouldn't that be wonderful.

And We're moving in this direction. But now we have thermometer, for the full house. We don't have, all the rooms, controlled. In the way that, could be so much more efficient, i mean how hard can it be. Excellent, yes right well, i i'm, looking at looking at you to see whether you've actually, not only got your hand up but got the answer to that question. Um. Yes i i want to maybe take a one, other element, uh following from both emily and, the, best technologies. Are often those ones that are, designed, with the community, that it stands for, in mind and the part of the, problem, i don't think we want to, it been a place where we say we are crea we want to create technology. With the community, not for the community. Yeah now that is that is just such, a good point. Um. You know that, you know so often, things get. Imposed. On. No i'm not sure i'm not sure whether it's you i think i'm back. Yeah yep you're back yeah i wasn't sure if it was me or you so as to speak. Excellent. Yeah these, are four areas that i often think about this measurement. Of climate, there's sort of planning systems that we want to do you have big industries. And then you have sort of consumer, technology, what we all use every day, so maybe i'll pick up. Two examples. One of them um. Is sort of an emergency, planning situation, something we find more and more often every day which is the problem of floods. You have several floods in the uk every year now, and one of the things we need to do is be able to make predictions, that a flood is going to happen. So we can actually position, emergency, services, to, take place so actually what we do is we make lots of predictions. Of rainfall. We put the prediction, of the rainfall, into a way of simulating, how floods will actually work, and then we actually make a prediction, and if you can do that well, um i think that's one way where we can actually use digital, technologies, to both save lives, but also to protect properties, and affect every single person in their houses. Um and sort of i want to just take it back to sort of while we are in korean's. Living room and the radiator, is going crazy, we may only be streaming, different kinds of television. We're watching netflix, we're watching the bbc, we're watching many kind of things, that, streaming, is coming usually from a big data center, somewhere, else in the world, maybe not in the uk, sometimes in the netherlands, sometimes all the way in the united states, and those big data centers they are huge, several, footballs. Large and they are one of the very energy efficient, ways, and we use prediction, of temperature. And. Pressure, and sort of outside, temperature, to try and be more efficient, where we control, those kind of building the way emily mentioned so i think there's a lot of, really fun ways for us to think about but also that actually touch us all. In, in very different ways sometimes, invisibly. In our lives. Yeah no no it it, it it's so important, isn't it and i i think, um. The. Making. Our, homes. And, offices, be far more intuitive, in the way that they. Respond to us is obviously, really key. So, um. I'm just going, to um. Sort of pick up on a. Question, that's just come through and sort of like. Infuriatingly. My. Phone is like okay here we go, um. So here's a question coming through, from. Uh. Matthew. Saying. Is there any possibility. To perhaps, remove, co2. Other greenhouse, gases from the atmosphere, similar to living, organisms. Instead, of just limiting. Output. For instance. Could we use machine, learning. To look at previous, data, and methodology. To create. Net, zero. Methods. So who would like to pick up on on this one. That's quite an interesting. So, i can i can make a start. Uh on this one. Um, suddenly, i mean we can reduce, or remove, co2, from the atmosphere, i mean the best way or simplest, way to do this is to plant a tree and a tree will suck co2, in the atmosphere. And then you can build up from this all kinds of technologies, that are more and more. Complicated. There's it's limited, in scope, those, so it costs energy but we could. Definitely. Uh, do this more efficiently. For example, where do you plan the trade what kind of tree is efficient, at that location.

And And having data that feeds back on how big of a carbon. Storage, you have created, with this. This could be. Also, a use. Of, digital, technology, in a way, i just do want to manage the expectation. Though. That, planting, trees, and growing, artificial. Sink. Is is. Is one, small, part of what we can do it cannot, replace, and offset. All the energy, that we use, we actually do need to. Use energy, much more efficiently. And use renewable, energy. Right. Yep, yes victor. Um yeah, thank you so much so practically. Um, from, you know what i said and the work we're doing currently, in africa, uh, likely, from. You know. Using, data, basically, to help governments, make informed, policy, decisions. Is. The fact that we've worked with a number of partners, to transfer, capacity, to a number of african, governments. In using, digital, and satellite, you know technologies. In, uh looking, at the rate of deforestation. Uh as these countries. Hope to battle the effects. Of climate, change and co2, emissions, and i think that you know, uh uh, forest, remains, a huge. You know um. Uh. Strategy, to addressing. You know uh the issue of co2, and surface temperatures. In these countries, and so there was an interesting, walk we had, uh that was delivered, by one of partner in ghana, where, a specific. Region, was you know um having problems, with uh deforestation. For several years, and they were not able to uh effectively. Measure. The rate of deforestation. That was happening. In that you know particular, region, until we brought in, uh, capacity. You know to government, institutions. And also enable them to access satellite, data, that then help them to track large swaths, of land, and forested. Areas, that have been deforested. You know, over the number of years. And that helped the government, to take a critical, look at the rate of deforestation. And then led to certain policy, decisions. That were taken by government. In other words they planned by government at that point in time was, how do we. You know uh plant, trees, across, that swat of land, that have been deforested. You know likely, due to illegal, you know uh, logging, and also the major problem they are dealing with in ghana is also around, uh illegal, mining. Which leads to large you know expanse of lands being you know deforested. And then there was another wonderful, work we did in senegal. Where we walked to the department. Uh that is in charge of parks and red lands, and also the ministry, of our environments, and sustainable, development. Where for the first time they were able to use satellite. Data. And technology. To look at the rate of deforestation. That was happening, in polder, region. Uh in the northern part of senegal. Of course a lot of that deforestation. Activity, was, due to you know uh people falling trees to provide, charcoal. And you know cooking fires for themselves. And of course illegal, you know lagers, who are also doing some you know, walk in that particular, forest. And it was quite interesting, when the minister. Himself, got to understand. That over the last you know 15 years, they've lost over 17, percent. Of the forest, are in that particular, region, and that made them you know to begin to send you know rangers. Uh to do ground protein. To collect data, and to validate, you know that's, uh what they saw about, satellites. But the most important, part of the work, uh that we're beginning, to see. Is that satellite. Data and technology. Would play, a significant. Role, uh particularly, for resource, for countries. You know, because this will help them to have access, to, you know high resolution. Uh satellite, imagery. That can enable them to take immediate, action they can see exactly what is happening for time, and then being able to take immediate, you know, action, in addressing, some of these issues.

The Information, and the data that's also been generated. Can as well be you know sent over mobile, you know both to park rangers. Uh to citizens, and community, members. Saying to them that hey something is happening. In your you know forest, within your locality. And so the community, are able to you know put action you know i put up an action, to address, uh illegal, loggers. Illegal miners, uh in their community that are contributing. To uh deforestation. Activities. Thank you. Yeah great now that's a great point and actually but you've just, um reminded, me of something, that i i saw, sort of like last week which was a really interesting, project because, i think, one of the. Issues, sometimes, with climate change, is finding. The right ways to bring it to life because when you talk about one degree or two degrees some people don't know that's right very much, um, and then, it was a lovely. Virtual. Use of virtual, reality. In a forest. To, forward, project, this is what could happen in 10 years time 20, years time, and then the the impact. On, all of the biodiversity. Of that forest it was a really imaginative. Way to, make people think oh, you know. Those are really significant. Changes. Um. Many excuses. If i jump around a bit but the questions are really great and, i did say i want you to steer the discussion, so staring, at your ass so, um, a great question, question here from, ali, saying. I've seen a couple of big tech companies, in the us pledging, to be carbon, negative. In a couple of years, removing. From the environment. Carbon the companies, have emitted. Since they were founded. How might they go about. Doing this. So who would like to pick up on on that one so. Is it possible, for the tech companies, to keep, that rather big. Promise, i'm, looking at you corin, here i yeah certainly, i can answer, this question, thank you this is a great question. And. Look, just a little bit of basic, here, to tackle, climate change our emissions, need to go down to zero we say net zero, which means. Everything, we can bring down to zero we should. And what we can't, like agriculture. Emissions, then we should offset, with sinks. And in fact the emissions, from the digital. Environment. Are emissions, that we could bring down to zero. So the recommendation. In our report, is really to look, at. Renewable, energy, as a source of energy, for these emissions, from the digital, technology. Many tech companies. Have. In place. Some actions, to reduce, their emissions, to move to renewable, energy. But there's a lot of use of offsets, of carbon. And it's not the best use of offset. Of carbon in that field. Because, there's not so many offsets, so that's planting trees i was always saying there's more complicated. And and we could use them for offsetting, other things, but in a measure, for the moment. Is as a transition. Measure. Uh why not i think in the long term we need to move to renewable, energy in that field. And while doing this the tech company. If they have more offsets, than they have emissions. Then essentially, they can start compensate. Emissions, in the past. And this is positive. It's not the long-term, direction, of travel, which is really renewable, energy, but as a measure, for now. It's. It's it's arguably, good. I'm, on on that note, actually, uh. In the, royal societies, report which i would urge you to read, um, there is a really, interesting, point, around. Emerging, technology. Of every which kind. And. Perhaps. That on your sort of list of what is important, for tech to have. Is, um a measure, of its sort of proportional. Impact. On the, environment. Like, so if we do this, uh we do have a choice we don't have to do it and if we do, what is the impact likely to be and i was interested, you see that in the report you sort of say that say bitcoin.

Um. Has, a really high, impact. In terms, of, um you know the. You know co2. Etc, so that that that to me, was really interesting. Absolutely. I mean bitcoin. Is a really good example. Of a technology. That, has developed, without, any, consideration. Of the energy, use. And we have this technology, it has some use, for, for. The economy. But there's this big, monster, of emissions, that come with it. And we have to think, when we develop, new technology. Is it proportionate. To the energy, use is it proportionate. To the impact on the environment. And governments, have to set some guidance, for that, and if it's not proportionate. Then we should not use it, if it's or develop, it and invest in it and if it is proportionate. It does mean that somewhere, else, in the economy, we're going to have to cut the emissions. More. Than we had anticipated. So there's really a role from the for the government. For a big tech company. To integrate. The energy. And environmental. Impacts. Of the future, development. Um. Right on a. Bit of a big question, now. From, scott. Who says. Why, have we still not, got, agreement. On climate, change, even existing. Has technology. And data. Failed, to prove. That it's happening. Right so you're smart, who's going to deal with it okay, it's all yours then. I'm not sure, i mean i think that data, is very clear on what's happening to our climate. You know quite as you say uh said earlier, um. In terms of global temperatures, we're about one degree warmer, than we were, in pre-industrial. Times, you commented that one degree you know it's difficult to know what that really means but we're already seeing the impacts, of, um climate change in terms of extreme weather events around, the world. So that's data that we can see with our with our own eyes and experience, and sadly, there have been many, communities, that have been affected by flooding events, in the uk, in recent years, but we've also seen images of wildfires, around the world, i mean california, are in australia, just this, last year. Um but the other, um, key. Pieces of evidence, data, that we have around our changing. Climate. Um come from satellite, data this really important, source of information, that we have, and if we look at satellite, data from the polar, regions. We see really dramatic. Changes. Occurring. There, so just one example, for you is in terms of the, sea ice in the arctic. The arctic. Has seen dramatic, reductions, in sea ice across, the 40, years of, satellite, record. So that now, um the area that's covered by sea ice at the end of the summer melt season each year, is is almost, half what it was at the start of that satellite, record 40 years ago, so i think there's no, question that the data.

Indicates, That our climate is dramatically, changing. Um. In terms of our international. Response. Um, the wall came together in in paris, um in 2015. And did commit, to keeping temperatures. Well below two degrees of warming, with an ambition, to keep them below. 1.5. Degrees, of warming. And. This coming year in glasgow. Um in at the end of 2021. Almost this this time next year, the world will be coming together again. Um to look to see whether or not we should be enhancing, those ambitions, and also, to see how we're at you know we can actually as a global community start to actually implement, them. Yeah. I like, i like the question though because i think it it's a bit of a challenge, and i i, wonder whether it is a challenge, to journalists. Um, the way that it's reported. Um, the the way sometimes. In, the. Need for people to think i better give a balanced, thing here, um, that actually. You're still you know because no one would argue that if a car. Drives, over a child. That that is a really, you know unfortunate. Thing you wouldn't have someone on the other side going well on the other hand i think we could look at you know. It's all down to the tires or whatever. Um, you know. That maybe. This is a real. The onus, is on the way these messages, are being, communicated. And filtered, right the way. Right the way um. Down, so thanks very much do keep all of these um questions, um coming, i tell you what we might do now, um because we've clearly got a lot of people, on slido. Um, we're just going to do a poll. So i'm just going to ask the royal society, team to get ready for one of the, the polls. Which is, um we know we've mentioned a little bit about the way, that you know technology, could make a real impact both within the home the office, travel. Um, our understanding. Of the, likely, impact, if we've got a brilliant, idea. That. It might be a brilliant idea but guess what it could be really harmful for the. Environment. So um the slider, question, is do you think individuals. And society. Have the ability, to adapt. To new digital. Technologies. So, um. You know it's very sort of like, simple. Multiple. Choice, um. Responses. Needed, um, to um. You know to that question. So, just let us know. What you think about, about that you know do you think individuals, in society, have the ability, to adapt, to, new digital. Um, technologies. And then we'll get the results, of that poll, and the answer. Um, overwhelmingly. Um is changing, slightly. Which of course the whole thing about slido, isn't it does chain, um, but um, yeah. We've had sort of like, just over 50 responses, 43. People saying yes, um eight saying maybe. Um, one's saying. No, i think. The other part of that question which is quite interesting, um is. Because we talk about. You know the, you know. The, willingness, of society, you to make use of digital, technologies. But obviously. Um, in, uh. In terms of the num. Of people across, the world who have access.

To Digital. Technology. This is also another. Issue, isn't it that you know you just can't make that assumption. Um i think. In, the um. In the report. That, in 2018. It was something like 51. Of the world it's obviously, you know increasing, looks like by next year might be 62. Percent, uh corinne did you want to pick up on that. Uh yeah, uh. Very important. Yes people, have access. To, uh digital, technology, not everybody. Uh but it's difficult. It's it's difficult. To keep up with the digital, technology. And. And having more digital, technology. Means that it's going to be more difficult. For. Certain, parts of the society, who haven't had a chance to keep up or haven't had, the digital. Sort of education. Maybe people like more my age or my parents, age but also people, simply. Who haven't been exposed, for various, reason. So, whereas. Um. You know i i think it's well possible. Uh to, uh, to have a positive, vision on this it's not going to happen. On its own. And that's another aspect, of our report, that we say that really. We have to think this through, as an education. Uh, responsibility. To make sure that people, in this country, and worldwide. Are able, to. Keep up that they're not afraid. That they understand. And that's really the interface. And that's a part for the for the digital, tech. Uh industry, itself the interface, is as as easy as it can be. Right. Yep yep far away victor. Yeah thank you um, of course in africa, a lot a lot more, uh people are having, communities, are having access to digital, technologies. And, of course they can actually adapt, and you know are to, using. Technology, but. The challenge, really is still. Around the issue of access. They see a huge challenge around access, around affordability. Around literacy, digital, literacy, is a huge issue, and of course you know there's this gender you know uh gap when it comes to digital literacy, men women, uh issue which are pretty much you know uh you know uh uh. You know existing, issues across many african, societies. Uh but um. Uh, generally. Uh people are adapting, very quickly, even the so-called, farthest, long societies, or communities. Across, africa, are gradually, and you know quickly embracing. You know digital, technology. Mobile technology, is a huge, you know uh thing uh across, africa, right now almost, close to 400, you know million, you know persons, across africa. Uh have activated. Mobile you know lines, uh that are working they are using to you know to trade, you know uh the whole emphasis, success, story in kenya, and across, you know a large part of africa, where trading is occurring. Across, mobile, you know our digital, you know our, uh uh platforms. Uh so that that's, you know hunger, is there, uh to do more with digital, technology. But, uh the challenges, of affordability. Of literacy. Uh and of access, is you know are ever you know staring us in the face in africa. Yeah, and i you know i mean, obviously you know i, spend a lot of time working with young people, and um. There's a t you know one can often sort of assume. That, that families, have got access, to technology, which actually. They, um, they they simply, you know, don't have. Um. Another. Question here which i think is sort of quite. Interesting. Um. A question which i would, like one of those real on the nose type questions. From ian. Which, is. Can we have, energy, consumption. At our current, scale, or higher. Without, any fossil, fuels. Is that actually, possible. Or do we have to. Make changes. To our consumption. You'd like to pick up on. On. This one. I i can i can give it a go. Yeah yeah corinne. Uh, yeah, um. There's a. We. Yes but we're increasing, the demand, of energy, at the moment, so the energy demand is growing. Even, in, um. In economies, like the uk, our energy, demand, is growing. Because there's more development. Of things, kit transport, everything. And then there's developing, countries, that have also growing energy demand so worldwide. The energy demand is growing massively. And we can move this. Completely. Uh, to renewable, energy the prices, are coming down so it's even becoming. Affordable. And, still. The, problem of tackling climate change. Is made much. Easier. If we, don't waste, energy. And this is where. We can actually help a lot with the digital, technology. Is by avoiding. Unnecessary. Waste. I mean waste. Is, is, irritating. For many. Reasons. Even developing. A renewable, energy, has a cost to the environment, there's a cost, i mean not every, there's a there's a physical, land cost. There's a there's an economic, land cost. So if then after you pay all this cost you go and waste the energy.

That's Really not satisfying. So there's not, like. There is lots of renewable, energy available. But it's much easier, if if we have a lower. Use of energy. Um this is a kind of a related, question, and it was one that was submitted. Before the event, um, is. Can individual. Changes. So, if all of us. Adopt. Smart meters, and electric, vehicles. Can that really have, an impact, or, do you think, that. Real change, has to come from, like a national. Or a. A globally. Agreed, level. Can we do it, can we, seriously, as individuals, make. A difference. So i think we you know, if, this we're in a situation, where. The scale of reduction, of emissions, that's required over such a short time scale, is, so, significant. That we need to be doing everything. So we need have the technological. Solutions. Um that are that we've rapidly, put out in guild wars employment and where digital technologies. Can help with that, um then, then that's very welcome, but that also needs to be um. Accompanied. By, by, all of us as individuals. But but collectively. As a whole as well, um all making contributions. Through our own behavior, so there's not an either or here we need, we need all of that, um. And and additionally, we need as has been, mentioned by victor, um, in particular. We need to be treating our natural, world, um with greater respect, because, actually, there are many instances, that if we do so, that nature, itself can help um, uh. In terms of our, uh. Bringing down carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere, if we don't cut down trees, trees are very effective, at doing that, um, and uh and peatland, similarly. Um so so it's a combination, of different things some of them are technology, some of them are behavior, and some of them are treating our natural world better. Yeah, and, one of the things that comes through very strongly, in the, in the report. Um, is that need, for. Real. Real collective. Thinking. So collective, thinking from government, from, academia. From, the public. Um, and from, whole communities. So not just a particular, part of a particular, community. Going oh yes, we would buy into. This particular. Solution. But but something, where. We absolutely. Take into consideration. Um. You know, work together. Um. Because as you say it's a massive problem and unless we all do this, we're, we aren't going to, make the, huge shift which is really needed. But then but really importantly, not just in terms of people's behavior, but another, one of the really important messages, that comes out from the report this if if you're designing, technological. Solutions. You need to, be involving, in that design, process, itself those people are going to be using those technological. Solutions. So it's very much. A much more. Um, inclusive. Process, than perhaps and sometimes, thoughtful. Yeah now your mommy like a few, a few years ago um i was, looking, at. An interesting, project, in slough, actually. Where they were experimenting. With different kinds, of community, heating, systems. And they had different kinds, of, smart, houses. And. Surprise, surprise, they discovered. That, one of the major drawbacks, was. The skill sets, needed. To manage. All of that community. In terms of if you've got, if everything in your house is smart. If you've got smart systems, everywhere. Then, you really do need, people. Who are able to support, that, and i think that is, an important, area, isn't it is that you know developing, the skill, base. For a society, that does need to work in a different. Way. Yeah absolutely, and and it comes back to points that um, corrine was making, making earlier, about how important, it is it's actually one one of the points again. Came out in the report. Was about how it's really important to look at every stages, of life and the. And the education, and skills, training. That we're going to need to be putting in place, to set people up to be able to, both use those technologies. That are being, developed. To, uh to understand what the opportunities. Are, um but also. To set people up with the skills for the jobs of the future that are going to be using those, um digital, technologies. As well so it's both looking at school education.

Um, Where we can be enhancing, that it's looking at. How we can be um putting more into apprenticeships. Or. Or or training, for the jobs, um. That are going to be increasingly. Using digital technologies. But it's also really importantly. Looking, at. You know people in their own homes, and making sure that everyone. Is included. In the in the digital, transformation, and they're not excluded, because they don't have the right skills in order to be able to use those technologies. One, um, you know recurring. Theme through, all of this, is, is, around. Data, and, obviously. You know, the, very big role that this is going to play. In it and so, um. You know i i wonder shakira whether you want to come in on this because. What we hear time and time again is is. People want to do, to. What you know the right thing, but there is, a bit of suspicion. About well. How might my data be, compromised. Or used, or, exploited. Or. Hacked. So you know what can we do to. Provide. Um, i guess a framework, an ethical. Framework. I think just on the previous question i think. We must not, underestimate. The power of the democratic. Process. All of us have this power. To, write to our local, representative. To our mp, to ask for this kind of change and collectively. We can do that it's not you don't, the power of democracy, does not require. Detailed education. We all know sort of what's happening in our community to our neighbor and i think that's a another power we shouldn't underestimate. And in that process, i think we can respond, to your question because it's about, how is it that we can make commitments. About, trust, in these kind of systems. To, the the community, in general, and what constitutes, a trustworthy. Kind of technology, and this has to again operate at so many different levels. And uh the report, puts forward. Several different kinds of uh, errors in chapter three on trustworthy, technology, that's actually what it was called. And you know it needs to begin. At companies, themselves, proving, that they are, worthy, of every individual's, trust, so maybe in case that you said, these new technologies, i introduced. Maybe there is a panel of people who go into the community. Who helped them train, who convinced them who helped them audit, to inspect, that it's trustworthy. That we have, auditing, at the government, level, actually auditing has been a very big process from the information commissioner's, office. Then the sort of national, policies, and international, policies so again just as emily, and karen were saying sort of multiple, different layers, of trust coming together and of course from people like me who are working in the technology. Industry. We also have a very important role to go around, what are the kind of technology, standards, we are using around encryption.

Around, Auditing, for those encryption, things, where we are storing, things where the data center actually lives is it in britain. Is it elsewhere. Um, but again i think yeah we need to just ask those questions what constitutes. Trust, and then i'll pick up on that in korean. Excellent. Um. Yeah i'm, i'm gonna move on now to uh we've got so many questions, coming through thank you so much for this um, i can't say how much we uh appreciate, it so, um this one comes from dennis. Um to what extent, will technology, turn cities full of people and industry, like paris and london. Into a more sustainable. City. Like freiburg. In, germany. For. Example. So how how could technology. Change, the. Um, the kind of the ambiance. And you know the environmental. Ambiance, should we call it, of. A city. Can, can we can we pass that, into the technology. Corner, is that a reasonable, thing to do. Yeah i mean maybe i can pick that one up. Um. Yes certainly, it it, wouldn't happen, by itself, it requires, some vision. But maybe i can jump, on the example. Of, mobility. As a service, which is one of the examples, we give on our report. At the moment the way we're organized. Is. If you think about your transport. You organize, yourself, either, you you, walk you cycle you take the bus, or you drive your car. But. You could think. In terms of using, data, better and having a system that is more organized. To have mobility, as a service. So for example, i could open an app and say well i want to go on the other side of the city today i want to be there at 9 20.. And then. The, app would tell me exactly. What i need to do maybe some electric, car would come and pick me up to take me to the bus station and the bus would be there. I wouldn't have to wait. And then take me there. And i think that kind of sharing. Of, technology. Sharing, of transport. As a service. Is really a big avenue, forward. And if we manage, to have. The essential, data that is needed that it's that it's that it's, handleable. In a format, we can. Then, we can, really see space. In a very different, way in a city we can organize, space make more place for parks, and trees. And less place for. Cars which are parked, 90. Or maybe even more of the time they're not used. All this wonderful, tech. So take out the cars. Organize, the mobility. And you have a new landscape. Why not. Um. Sofia. Has sent in lots of questions. Um, they're all brilliant, sofia. Um, so, it's really hard to choose which one to. Go for, um. I'm gonna go for your. One about cruise, ship so, um, she says cruise ships are one of the biggest drivers, of emissions, more than more than all the cars in europe. Is it of course. Where this is. Sophia, sophia's, question, gone, um. Is it possible. Um. The thing is that there are so many questions, coming in which obviously is a really good thing but it on, when you're working with the app in a live sort of way here we go um, um is it feasible, to power cruise ships by renewable. Energy given that they're not air based and have solar hydro, and wind, energies. All around them, thanks so much for that, um, question, sofia, and. So who's going to sort the cruise ships out then. Well cruise ships are enormous, aren't they i mean you know we know that uh, um there's been plenty of very luxurious. Sailing, ships in the past. Um, but uh but i'm not sure whether or not you'd be able to get a cruise ship, you know the size that some of them that we that we see at the moment. Um to be, to be um under, sale power. Um, i mean, on shipping one of the the.

Really, Big um challenges, is looking at, you know all these big transporter. Ships and how we, go about, um, uh decarbonizing. That the, the those. Ships. And one of the solutions, that's looked at is, um whether or not we could be using. Hydrogen, or possibly ammonia. Um as a as a fuel for, for shipping. Um, to power those in the future, if that that hydrogen, or ammonia. Is itself, produced. By, renewable, energy. Technologies. And, um so that's certainly one reap forward now where do digital, technologies. Come, in terms of helping, um with those. Processes. Well um. The, different potential, stages, there are, there's, um. Looking at where we can make, those production, of, those. Fuels, like hydrogen, and ammonia more efficient, it would be one way in which you could um look to. Use digital technologies, as part of that process. Can i just add, to that very quickly, just to make it very futuristic. Um. For your opening question. There is a kind of technology, what they call the artificial. Leaf. And you know everyone like imagine, you're gonna build an artificial, plant the most interesting thing is plants and photosynthesis. And actually to pick up what emily is saying, the technology, is about, creating this kind of artificial leaf that generates, hydrogen, and what happens they combine with the bacteria. And then it automatically. Generates, the kind of power for those kind of ships so we have this kind of futuristic. Society, ahead of us that you know there's so many fun things. And science, and technology, and all the young people are going to come into our fields can help you know, maybe solve that crucial, problem. Excellent. Well, i'm a great believer, in, i know there are so many things. Um one of them being of course this. That, you know go back, you know, 20, 30 years i would never have imagined. That this would be such a versatile. And, would have had so much impact, on on so. So many areas, of industry. As as it actually. Has so yeah never never said never say, um, never say never, um, i'll tell you what what we're going to do now is just to go over to another, slido. Poll. Um. And, i'm going to move on to. This particular. Question, which is. Who. Do you think should be primarily, responsible. For driving, the use of digital, technologies.

In Tackling, climate, change. So um once again. That, is a, multiple, choice, um. Poll, and. I i do appreciate, that not everyone is on slido, so the choices, we've given people, are individuals, policy makers, businesses. Industry and agriculture, scientists, and engineers. Everyone. None of the above, or, i don't know. So, um. Let's just see how. That's, panning out. Um, i'm just going to let that sort of like settle for a little bit, um. So the. The key, uh. Leaders, are. Everyone, gets by far the most votes, and then. Second in line policy, makers and the government, and then. Businesses. Um followed, followed by scientists. And. Engineers. So that's the result of that poll so thank you very much for um, for doing that, i'm going to go back to some of the um questions, i know one of the questions, um. That came up was, you know that obviously this is a. A growing, area. Um if someone has got a scientific, or an engineering, background. What, what would you suggest, is the most appropriate, route, if they want to move into, a specialism. In this area. What advice, would you give them. What would you be saying, i think, you would be well placed, if you did either. You know a phd. In or, you should try and get. Access, to, uh courses, in. X y and zed. So people are perhaps interested, in adding to their. Um their knowledge base. Um, so that they can. Have a. Career that makes a real difference, in the, in the future. Uh maybe i can chip in a few points, here a few pointers. I mean it's really excellent, if you already, have, this uh this skill set this education. Uh if you can complement. It with knowledge, on the environment, so just how much i mean really how much do you need to do in terms of. Tackling, also the energy, and climate change pro, problem. So whatever, take classes, or do a master's, or a phd, if you would like that's also great. And then you can. Integrate. The industry, i mean there's a lot of, sustainability. Wings in the industry, that could use knowledge. Like, the one that we're. Talking about, here. I think having this dual capacity. Of having a strong, tech background. And environmental. Knowledge is is, super. Useful today. Okay. Um. A fast question, coming in now. From. Isaac. Um. Who, says. What do you think, would change. If our carbon, emissions, did go to zero. What would change. Well, shall i say, a few things i mean if you know. We want our carbon emissions to go to zero that's what we need to happen if we're going to limit, climate change, but um but but i think one of the things that's really important to recognize, is that there are all sorts of other positive, things that would come about if we did. Um, so, um. You know what would change one of the things that we've all uh i think, noticed and appreciated. Over the last year during the lockdown, was that our air, at times felt a lot cleaner. Um. Cleaner, air, is, healthier, air and so, you know you can have a positive, impact there in terms of you're not just tackling climate change but you're also creating. Um a healthier, world. You know it's not just healthier to humans but it's also healthier, to nature, as well, and we've talked about and the challenges, of deforestation. Which is ravaging. Um, huge, parts of the world. But we're also seeing, um. Species, that are under severe threats of extinction, it's estimated, that a million, species. Might be a threat of under, extinction, over the coming years, and those threats are exacerbated. By climate change, so if we take our emissions, down to zero we're also, protecting. Um the rich diversity, of our natural, world. So there are many different ways in which actually you get all sorts of positive, benefits. From taking those emissions down to zero. No i mean i i i it's, it it's so, um.

Yeah I mean i i, i appreciate, you know some people sort of talking about like that you know the challenges, and all the rest of it but there is like no question this is something we've absolutely. Kind of got to do, um. Otherwise, the consequences. Just don't there. They're thinking. About. Um. But i think it's not about what to do because the consequences. Don't bear thinking about i think that's the other way that you can flip it around which i you know i hope has come out a bit um today. Which is actually that it's really exciting, some of the technologies. That we can develop, to help deliver this are really exciting. And so actually this kind of you know mission to drive our emissions, down to. Zero and to tackle climate change is actually, a really exciting opportunity. As well. Um. An open question from dominic, now. Um. Well he sort of says will the world ever live on 100. Renewable, energy. And, do you think, all the sources. Of renewable. Energy. Have been. Discovered. That's an interesting. Thought. They've certainly not all been fully exploited, yet, um, so tidal, energy for for example, is one energy, source which is there all the time, and, um and yet when we're we're not um at the stage of, of yet there's a few you know ideas of demonstration, projects or we're actually putting things into place but in terms of large, tidal. Um energy, infrastructure. Maybe somebody. Knows. Yeah i mean also. Um the ones that, we're going to use, to. Bring our emissions, down to zero. Are basically, the ones that are there already. I mean i i'm pretty sure we'll we'll discover, more renewable, energy, sources. Later. But it really takes a lot of time to go from the discovery. To something, that really occupies. A big space. In terms of producing, energy. And so, the ones we have now they're good, you know wind energy, solar energy. Hydropower. These are good sources of energy, nuclear, has a role to play, so we can deliver, this. I cannot tell you how many more questions, we've got but we are, sort of rapidly, running out of time. So. My final, question, to each of the panelists. Is this one, um. Which is a double question, which is what do you think is the most, exciting. Opportunity. Offered by, digital, technology. In combating. Climate, change. And what do you think, is the biggest, challenge. When moving towards that digital, future. So, um victor i'm going to ask you to go first. Well thank you so much i think for me basically. It's going to be about, people. People. Much more than you know technology, i think it's important that we put people. Right in the middle, of the whole design, process. Uh to ensure, that. You know the. The fears, and the pains. Of the people, the community, users, of technology. Are pretty much, uh are. Captured. Into the design, process. And the technologies, that are created. Are created, to exactly. Address, the needs. Of, community, members of people who use this technology, and i think some, that there's also a huge place for, for literacy. Uh literacy, at whatever, level, uh to enable, people, really, to take, you know uh uh these technological.

Uh Uh, tools, and use it uh to improve. You know the health of the planet, and, in indeed. Our population, health, thank you. Shaquille. Um, quick answer maybe i'm going to pick up on the previous one say fusion energy, and um. There's so much control, so much science for us to pick up so much data we need to do so much integrated. Systems, with people, and the energy, grid and i think that's opportunity, and like emily said there's so much new research, and new opportunities, where we see it and take that uh opportunity. Advantage. Of the change that we want to see. Excellent, corin. Yeah the biggest opportunity. I think is to make our life easier. More enjoyable. By, just, having. More efficiency. All around, so. That to me is the biggest opportunity. And it comes with the challenge, that. The data, just has to be there it has to work it has to be understanding. It has to be integrated. And that's, really, really not easy. The interface, between computers, and human. We have work to do. Family. And i i think the greatest opportunity. Is, unleashing, human creativity. There is not a single solution, here there are, thousands, upon thousands, of solutions, that work in individual, communities. Or across, global, solutions. And and and the opportunity, here is to, unleash, all of them, and and and, together, look to see, uh though. How we can how we can tackle this climate crisis. And i'm an ever optimistic, person, and i just know from you know all of the you know work that i do with young people how much they care about this issue. So i have no fears about the younger generation. Coming through. Really caring. And i think that they have a potential. Massive, influence. On. Sort of their, their sort of uh parents, and their their families, in terms of helping everyone buy into this, um, that is all we have time for, and thank you so much for all of your questions, i'm really sorry, if we didn't manage to cover them we dipped around the subject, as much as we could, i would like to steer you towards, the the royal society, report, it's a really good. Read, um i i had sight of it yesterday. And. Very much in in, enjoyed, you know the, all of the learning that i came, uh, came came um to get from it, um. Do continue, the discussion. Um use the. The twitter hashtag. Um, share things, across facebook, too that would be fantastic. To really, increase, the, um. You know other people's, understanding, of the some of the topics, that we have. Covered. There is another. In this series, coming up on, february, the 16th. As part of the manchester. Science festival, so, very much hope that you'll, join us for that um, and also there is an evaluation, that you can. Sort of like fill in on youtube because, it's always, helpful, for the royal society, to know those things, so, big thank you. For everything, you've brought to this discussion. Um, and we will sign off now, but obviously. We very much want you, to be part, of, a future. Where. You, and, the planet, are. In absolute, harmony, thank you very much for. Tonight. Thank. You. You.

2020-12-04 14:30

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