• senseBox (University of Münster): The University of Münster has developed the senseBox, a do-it-yourself kit for stationary and mobile sensor stations – a citizen science toolkit. Citizens with a senseBox: home can use the technology for their own local research to collect environmental data or contribute it to the openSenseMap sensor network, a platform of open sensor data running on AWS. There are currently over 1 billion measurements available to download and analyze. The senseBox: edu offers schools and young scientists an experiment box with didactic
    didactic concepts, instructions and project ideas, to help users set up and code their own environmental their own environmental measuring station.
  • Sensor Bikes (re:edu): For many, the bicycle is the most important means of urban transportation of the future. It is sustainable, space-saving and healthy. But cobblestones, narrow cycle paths, jostling cars and stuffy exhaust fumes can really spoil the fun of cycling. To investigate how safe Berlin’s streets are for cyclists, the start-up re:edu and Futurium have developed the citizen science project SensorBikes. Berliners build mobile sensors for their bikes, collect important environmental and traffic data while cycling and make it available to the public.
  • ECO:DIGIT (adesso SE, Siemens, der Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA), dem Öko-Institut und der Gesellschaft für Informatik): ECO: DIGIT is a collaborative project involving adesso SE, Siemens, the Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA), the Öko-Institute, and the Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI). Its aim is to develop an automated assessment environment (test bench) that provides transparent metrics and data on resource consumption and CO2e emissions of software applications. This includes the development of an assessment method to identify significant environmental impacts and define suitable indicators for their measurement. These indicators include, for example, the power consumption of the working environment, the use of hardware resources, and other factors such as the quantity of raw materials and chemicals used in hardware manufacturing. The developed methods are intended to make the environmental impacts of various contemporary software applications in operation comparable in the four deployment scenarios: cloud platforms, mobile networks, mobile devices, and edge computing.
  • Open universal environmental sensor station (FifF): With our project, we want to strengthen civil society activities. The participation of citizens in the observation, recording and evaluation of the parameters of our living environment promotes environmental awareness and responsibility, imparts knowledge about the environment and technology and paves the way for informed political
    political commitment. In many cases, such initiatives have already pre-empted official measures and accelerated political action or even initiated it in the first place.

Thomas Kox, André Ullrich and Herbert Zech

Authors: Anne Mollen and Sigrid Kannengießer (University of  Münster)

Abstract: In the field of machine-learning, a growing research field reveals and analysis the ecological negative effects that generative AI cause, especially the contribution to climate change through the carbon dioxide emissions of the training of generative AI and the use of these technologies. Moreover, it is analysed how these effects of generative AI systems can be reduced. In social sciences and humanities, only a minor research area discusses the socio-ecological-economic effects of generative AI as well as ways of shaping AI infrastructures more sustainable. Hence, the question of how infrastructures of generative AI can be shaped in a sustainable way is a question that demands a social science perspective because it is with the help of practice theory in social sciences that we can investigate which actions cause the socio-ecological-economic effects generative AI causes as well as the ways through which different actors (try to) shape generative AI in a sustainable way. Therefore, the paper argues to integrate practice theory into the academic discourse on sustainable AI also stressing the relevance of social sciences in this research field. Moreover, we argue that the focus on infrastructures becomes relevant when analysing sustainable AI from a perspective of practice theory. 

Authors: Josephine B. Schmitt (Center for Advances Internet Studies [CAIS]) and Samuel T. Simon (Center for Advances Internet Studies [CAIS]) 

Abstract: Research exploring the intersection of digital transformation and sustainability reveals a growing recognition of the need to integrate digital technologies with environmental and social goals. However, people, their perspectives and experiences must be involved as a shared vision of a certain kind of future that enables acceptance of decisions and allows for innovation. With this in mind, we ask What are people’s visions of the future when it comes to digital transformation and sustainability? To answer the question, we asked people to draw their visions for the future when it comes to the relationship between digital transformation and sustainability – for better or for worse. We build on various strands of research, such as those on mental models and imaginaries, and combine them with strategic foresight approaches. In addition to utopias and dystopias, the drawings convey concrete visions of how a sustainable and digitized life can succeed – or not. In doing so, these images invite reflection on the importance of integrating ethical considerations into the development and deployment of digital technologies.

Authors: Florian Meissner (Macromedia University of Applied Science), Jan Magnus Nold (Ruhr-University Bochum), Martina Angela Sasse (Ruhr-University Bochum), Rebecca Panskus (Ruhr-University Bochum), Alexander Wilke (Macromedia University of Applied Science)

Abstract: Due to the digitalization, cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important also for citizens. In Germany, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) is the authority responsible for ‘digital consumer protection’. Its aim is to communicate with the public about cybersecurity, also via social media. Precisely this area that is an uncharted scientific territory. Theoretical approaches such as Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) and Framing provide useful guidelines for effective communication on protective behaviors. Our study explores basic characteristics of BSI’s social media communication and analyzes to what degree BSI’s posts on X (Twitter) published in 2021 and 2022 correspond with these guiding principles. Based on a computational analysis of n = 3,058 Tweets and a qualitative in-depth analysis of the most prominent n = 34 Tweets, the results show that BSI’s social media communication is often self-referential and discusses current events related to digital security only to a limited degree. When mentioned, cyber threats and countermeasures are typically presented in a vague manner. Similarly, it is often not clear who might be (potentially) affected by a threat. We conclude that applying a model for designing risk messages that draws on the dimensions of PMT could help cybersecurity related social media communication. 

Authors: Annemarie Witschas (University of Osnabrueck)

Abstract: This paper delves into the complex interplay between contemporary artificial intelligence (AI) ideologies and politics, focussing on how discourses on AI impede the prospects for social-ecological transformation. At its core, the analysis scrutinizes the fabrication of the “future” as a locus of power by influential industry actors and delineates how AI’s prominent visions of the future function as a tool to reinforce the prevailing economic order while curbing the potential for transformative struggles. To do so, I critically analyse the content and ideological backdrop of the proposed visions, as well as the discursive strategies applied. As I demonstrate, these visions not only engender exclusionary and unsustainable “elitist futures,” marked by the consolidation of power and the perpetuation of inequalities, but also extend a colonial lineage of extractivist expansion, framing the future as the final frontier to be conquered. Furthermore, I argue that discursive tactics of determinism and distraction hinder both criticism and the exploration of alternatives. Observing how the visions propagated by big tech are gaining institutional traction illustrates how they are solidifying into collective socio-technical imaginaries. Dismantling the industry’s mechanisms of future fabrication hence emerges as a primary counterstrategy essential for steering toward convivial and sustainable futures.

Authors: Lorenz Erdmann (Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research) and Simone Kimpeler (Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research)

Abstract: Organisations in pursuit of the mission of sustainable development realize the need to account for digitalisation as an ongoing transformative process with uncertain futures. To tackle the wicked problem of this twin transition for an organisation, active in a specific policy area, we designed an innovative Horizon Scanning approach that was applied in a collaborative Foresight process. The question was how digital change affects research and policy for transformations as well as how digital change affects the organisations’ daily operations. The approach encompasses a hybrid human and automated scanning of various sources of weak signals for trends. The Horizon Scanning was combined with sensemaking activities to further mitigate biases in foresight and evaluate strategic options from a broad range of perspectives. A “strategic compass” was developed to make the knowledge obtained accessible to various activities of the organisation thereby addressing the opportunities and challenges of the twin transition. Reflection on the Foresight process and the nature of the results suggests that participatory horizon scanning and sensemaking are useful beyond the policy action area covered in the study, and help to address biases in futures thinking, a common problem of systems in transition.

Panelists: Verena Majuntke (HTW Berlin), Max Schulze (SDIA), Maria Bauer (Open Source Business Alliance), n.n. (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz)

Moderation: Nikolas Becker (Gesellschaft für Informatik)

Abstract: In response to the increasing urgency to take action against climate change, there is a growing emphasis on energy conservation and emission reduction across industries. Within the context of information and communication technology (ICT), discussions have expanded to recognize the necessity for emissions reduction within life cycle of software, alongside considerations for hardware. This recognition has catalyzed the emergence of Green Coding – an approach aimed at enhancing the environmental sustainability of software systems.

Over the last years, a growing research body has been assessing energy requirements by different programming languages, holistic energy consumption during software development, and criteria for sustainable software development practices. Additionally, there has been a focus on the energy consumption of machine learning models during different life cycle phases. However, despite this momentum, Green Coding remains predominantly confined to academic and specialized circles – not reaching its potential for emissions reduction. This raises the question: What measures are required to facilitate the integration of Green Coding practices into mainstream software development? Which stakeholders should be engaged to achieve this goal and which role can or should standards and policies play in fostering a widespread adoption of Green Coding?  

Our panel aims to address these questions by convening experts from various sectors, including research, industry, and policy. In our panels discussion we seek to explore the pathways that can bridge the gap between theoretical understanding and practical implementation of Green Coding.

Thomas Kox, André Ullrich and Herbert Zech