Laurence Williams, Noam Bergman
We conduct an analysis of a UK-focused corpus of documents that represent key sites through which the promise of green 5G is produced, circulated and challenged. By the promise of green 5G we refer to an emerging, overarching, dominant expectation that 5G will produce environmental sustainability benefits of various kinds. We employ an analytical approach informed by the sociology of expectations and the concept of technoscientific promises to identify: the various types of expectations and promises upon which the promise of green 5G is built, the ways that the legitimacy and credibility of this promise are boosted, the negative expectations that challenge it, the different ways in which 5G is positioned in relation to the problem of expected traffic growth and how such problematisations direct attention to different solutions, and, finally, a number of other performative effects of the promise of green 5G. The promise of green 5G directs attention towards technological options that aim to render traffic growth sustainable through energy efficiency improvements and away from alternative approaches. This dominant expectation that traffic growth can be rendered sustainable through technological innovation suggests strong commitments to the environmental discourses of ecological modernisation and Promethean environmentalism within this technological community.
Williams, L. and Bergman, N. 2023. Koomey's law forevermore? A document analysis of the production and circulation of the promise of ‘green 5G’. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 187: 122193. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2022.122193Opens in a new tabOpen access
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