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Can a growing tech sector ever be sustainable?

8 June 2023 • by Michael R. Wade, Amit M. Joshi in Podcasts

Mike & Amit discuss whether killer apps really help us to make enough climate-friendly decisions, or if "sustainable tech" a contradiction in terms...

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We’re used to tech companies making big promises. A future filled with driverless cars, virtual realities to live in, and ever-more impressive gadgets. But what will these achievements amount to in a world ravaged by climate disasters?

In the last decade, the global conversation has been dominated by two mega-trends: digitization and sustainability. Mike Wade says that there have been surprisingly few intersections between these worlds because of the ephemeral nature of tech, and the physical nature of sustainability issues. But that’s changing.

Increasingly, digital giants are being questioned about their energy consumption. But while the data centers of Cupertino and Menlo Park consume colossal amounts of power, Amit Joshi argues that’s just one side of the story. Tech is helping people all over the world cut their consumption by giving them access to knowledge and resources at the touch of a button.

But can killer apps really help us to make enough climate-friendly decisions? And will cutting-edge hardware enable us to meet our carbon targets? Or is “sustainable tech” a contradiction in terms?


Michael Wade is a Professor of Innovation and Strategy and Director of the IMD Global Center for Digital Business Transformation. He also holds the Cisco Chair in Digital Business Transformation. An expert in digital transformation, he has published 10 books and more than 100 case studies, as well as articles on topics such as digital business transformation, innovation, strategy, and digital leadership. 

Amit Joshi is a Professor of AI, Analytics, and Marketing Strategy. He specializes in helping organizations use artificial intelligence and develop their big data, analytics, and AI capabilities. An award-winning professor and researcher, he has extensive experience of AI and analytics-driven transformations in industries such as banking, fintech, retail, automotive, telecoms, and pharma. 

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