Donald J. Patterson

Collapse Informatics: Augmenting the Sustainability & ICT4D Discourse in HCI

Collapse informatics: Augmenting the Sustainability & ICT4D Discourse in HCI cover sheet

Research in many fields argues that contemporary global industrial civilization will not persist indefinitely in its current form, and may, like many past human societies, eventually collapse. Arguments in environmental studies, anthropology, and other fields indicate that this transformation could begin within the next half-century. While imminent collapse is far from certain, it is prudent to consider now how to develop sociotechnical systems for use in these scenarios. We introduce the notion of collapse informatics—the study, design, and development of sociotechnical systems in the abundant present for use in a future of scarcity—as a complement to ICT4D and mitigation-oriented sustainable HCI. We draw on a variety of literatures to offer a set of relevant concepts and articulate the relationships among them to orient and evaluate collapse informatics work. Observing that collapse informatics poses a unique class of cross-cultural design problems, we sketch the design space of collapse informatics and provide a variety of example projects. We explore points of connection and distinction between collapse informatics and sustainable HCI, ICT4D, and crisis informatics. Finally, we discuss next steps and comment on the potential value of collapse informatics work even in the event that collapse never occurs.( local copy )

C.V.: CR-18

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