In this work, three of many ICT-specific challenges of LCA are discussed. First, the inconsistency versus uncertainty is reviewed with regard to the meta-technological nature of ICT. As an example, the semiconductor technologies are used to highlight the complexities especially with respect to energy and water consumption. The need for specific representations and metric to separately assess products and technologies is discussed. It is highlighted that applying product-oriented approaches would result in abandoning or disfavoring of new technologies that could otherwise help toward a better world. Second, several believeduntouchable hot spots are highlighted to emphasize on their importance and footprint. The list includes, but not limited to, i) User Computer-Interfaces (UCIs), especially screens and displays, ii) Network-Computer Interlaces (NCIs), such as electronic and optical ports, and iii) electricity power interfaces. In addition, considering cross-regional social and economic impacts, and also taking into account the marketing nature of the need for many ICT’s product and services in both forms of hardware and software, the complexity of End of Life (EoL) stage of ICT products, technologies, and services is explored. Finally, the impact of smart management and intelligence, and in general software, in ICT solutions and products is highlighted. In particular, it is observed that, even using the same technology, the significance of software could be highly variable depending on the level of intelligence and awareness deployed. With examples from an interconnected network of data centers managed using Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) technology and smart cooling systems, it is shown that the unadjusted assessments could be highly uncertain, and even inconsistent, in calculating the management component’s significance on the ICT impacts.
Keywords: Computer Science – Computers and Society, Computer Science – Human-Computer Interaction