OpenBSD version: Not relevant here... Arch: ? NSFP: Well...
We really have a tendency of building complex systems. Growthgrowthgrowth. Especially, when it comes to complexity.
Sometimes, this complexity comes in the form of ‘AI’ systems, sometimes it throws resources at concepts looking for a solutions. Sometimes it is the issue of bloat on the web, other times we are wondering where all the ram went.
There are countless examples of systems that consume a lot of resources. The footprint of large models, as well as the horrendous crime against nature from proof-of-work based “BlockChain Technologo” are most likely the most common examples here. However, as with the list above, this list could probably continue for ages, and we can add a lot more examples to it, like the piles of waste the IoT brings to the table.
In the end, this all boils down to the joint responsibility we, as computer science people and ultimately those building these systems have.
“Systems should enable a better tomorrow and not burn the world even further.”
This responsibility can manifest itself in many ways. One of the parts we have to talk about is how more abstraction leads to more resource needs. With the wide availability of automation and support infrastructure—which of course has their good in enabling many people to build—systems’ resource hunger steadily increases. We currently have a tendency to create a growing ball of systems supporting other systems in abstracting something simple to something more complex. This, in turn, eats itself into how we build and design systems, adding layers and utilizing more resources for the same functionality, as most probably best illustrated by the web example mentioned above.
This overall development has probably been brought to the extreme by Bitcoin and its proof-of-work siblings, churning through energy on a nation-state scale, while having no purpose except profit. Bitcoin may very well be the perfect piece of performance art, illustrating the fall of a species burning itself and its planet in the strife for more, merely for the sake of more.
As such, we claim that it is an engineer’s responsibility to ensure that the systems they build contribute to a beneficial purpose and do not harm society or the environment by needless and redundant processing. This entails that this purpose is tangible and reasonable in relation to the resource consumption of the system, and serves the benefit of all instead of the profits of a few.