"Moving towards the dream, are we?" is an immersive speculative experience that confronts the implications of both sea-level rise and our over-reliance on advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to create solutions for climate change. The purpose of this project is to highlight the drastic impacts of rising sea levels due to climate change in the near future and communicate the importance of ethical use of technology, while raising awareness of our over-dependence on artificial intelligence to solve climate problems- the problem to which, ironically, it is one of the biggest contributors.
New York being a coastal city is most threatened by rising sea levels due to global warming, with projections of 18 to 50 inches increase in sea levels by the end of the century. The project focuses on studying and confronting the impacts of flooding in New York City to get an in-depth understanding of the severity of the impending changes in the near future, with analysis into one of the biggest contributors to the root cause of the global crisis.
Recent research and studies dive into the analysis of the carbon footprint of advanced technologies and the emissions from data centres. It is proven that the emissions from training an artificial intelligence model are as high as 240 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. With numerous solutions being proposed to fight climate change, the over-reliance on advanced technologies with a massive carbon footprint to create solutions for this global crisis became the focal point of investigation in the project.
“Moving towards the dream, are we?” is a speculative world design to portray loss due to sea-level rise, employing what Jacques Derrida termed a “philosophy of hauntology” to create shock value and to trigger a sense of “solastalgia”, nostalgia due to terrain lost to climate change.
A glimpse of the speculative world design:
"Moving towards the dream, are we?" is a speculative world, designed to reflect the implications of sea-level rise in New York City in different zones between the years 2020 and 2100, with a primary focus on two major aspects. First, the emotional aspect that triggers a feeling of loss from the impacts of flooding due to sea-level rise, which happens in the world in the form of audio and video triggers that tell "stories from the past", shared by people who suffered loss due to flooding. And second, the scientific aspect that focuses on delivering proven projections for carbon emissions and sea-level rise over the different time zones and highlighting emissions sources in the form of data centres and conversations with artificial intelligence. The world dynamically points at the emissions and sea levels based on the position of the user in a particular zone, informed by the emission sources near them.
The first zone (NY 2020) aims to create a sense of loss and displacement that we would face in the near future because of flooding due to sea-level rise in the form of memory triggers that tell “stories from the past”.
In the form of conversations with artificial intelligence, the second zone (NY 2070) aims at exposing the drastic consequences of our over-reliance on advanced technologies with massive footprint for climate change solutions.
The third zone (NY 2100) focuses on highlighting emission sources from advanced technologies, built to look extremely industrialised, flooded with tech giants with enormous emissions from datacentres training millions of datasets. In tandem with the scientific projections, the zone is completely flooded with no signs of homes, neighbourhoods and life, unlike the other zones.
This project is about understanding the ethical use of advanced technologies that emits huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. It is about understanding loss due to displacement of lives and destruction of property. It is about being clear of what we want to leave behind for future generations. It is a journal of loss, a speculative world that maps loss due to the impending changes in New York City in the near future, to inculcate an understanding of human actions and decisions influencing change.
"Moving towards the dream, are we?" points at the irony of the dream of progressing in every field with technological advancement. Whilst, in reality, the emissions from these sources are actually adding to the severity of the global crisis in a way that may actually be advancing us more rapidly towards mass extinction and loss due to climate change impacts.