What Is Technology For?

(Foreword to Using Emerging Technologies to Address Global Risks , October 2011) This is a question that often comes up in our dealings with global policy makers who spend huge sums on scientific research while simultaneously being fearful of its consequences. Many believe that it is somehow important for the economy in an undefined and non-quantifiable manner, or that it is some …

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The Most Effective Method of Public Engagement With Emerging Technologies – An Ice Cream Van!

In that last ten years of nanotechnology just about every kind of public engagement exercise conceivable has been tried, There have been public lectures howled down by anti GMO protesters, focus groups who often come to the conclusion that nanotech is OK once its benefits are are explained, and a series of obtuse and patronising projects aimed at explaining nanotechnology …

You Be Doomed If You Want To Be, I’m Engineering A Way Out

Professor Frank Fenner, who helped to wipe out smallpox, predicts humans will probably be extinct within 100 years, because of overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change according to Physorg.com, but I’m not too sure. According to The Australian Fenner said that climate change is only at its beginning, but is likely to be the cause of our extinction. “We’ll undergo the …

Redesigning Technologies For Risk Avoidance With The World Economic Forum

I spent last weekend in a rather hot Doha (Qatar), surrounded by Emirs, Queens, Princes and Prime Ministers at the World Economic Forums Global Redesign Initiative meeting. It’s an organization I have been involved with for the past six years, through both the Technology Pioneers program and the Global Redesign Initiative. As the world changes at an ever increasing pace, …

Cleantech in Melbourne: No Worries!

According to JP Morgan, flying to 21186 miles to Melbourne and back for a clean tech conference generated 5.63 tonnes of carbon dioxide, but unlike most conferences on this subject the hot air emissions were negligible. The Sir Mark Oliphant Cleantech: Mainstream and at the Edge conference was refreshing for the positive outlook on cleantech rather than the self flagellation …

Talking Cleantech In Melbourne

The Sir Mark Olifant Cleantech conference has been a lot of fun so far, from Eric Isaac’s opening overview of the the issues (and solutions) to Stefan Hajkowicz’s analysis of megatrends that will shape our future technology development. I’m still struck by how much cleantech seems to be focused in a few rather obvious areas, something which effectively prices a …

Eyjafjallajokull – Bad for Travel but Great for Science

While the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland is bad news for some people, it is actually quite interesting from an emerging technologies point of view, and bordering on fascinating if, like me, you somehow managed to shoehorn a big chunk of geology and geomorphology into you education (It’s a frightening thought, but I could have ended up as a geographer!) as well as …