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 …

Advertisements

Nanotech Isn’t Green Enough – But Compared to What?

I’ll leave the professional report readers such as 2020Science to wade through the Friends of the Earth’s latest broadside against nanotechnology which claims that it “isn’t green enough.” This brief report in “The Australian” neatly sums up the argument, which is that although nanotechnology has been spoken of as a solution to some aspects of climate change, it is is …

Predicting The Future And Keeping It Bright

I spent some time in the ever fascinating city of Geneva this week for some meetings with the World Economic Forum where, as always, we are trying to figure out what to do about the world right now while trying to understand how the future will look – hopefully better than the present is the short answer! One of the …

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 …

Sunfilm Eclipsed By Withdrawal of Government Subsidies

I have always been sceptical about investing in solar companies on the basis that the market is artificially distorted by government subsidises which can work with you, or against you. Germany’s Sunfilm which manufactures amorphous silicon modules (a-Si), has today filed for insolvency claiming its business plans have been crippled by Germany’s plans to sharply reduce its solar feed-in tariff …

Strategic Geopolitical Trends – From Spooks to Nanotech

The UK Ministry of Defence released its latest ‘Global Strategic Trends – Out to 2040‘ study last month, and it’s a good read (even for non spooks) covering everything from terrorism to to climate change and their impact on geopolitics. The report identifies four key issues, Globalisation, Climate Change, Global Inequality & Innovation which will dominate the next thirty years. The …

All I Want For Christmas Is A Return On My Investment

An early Christmas present? A late Eid or Diwali one? Our latest white paper looks at investing in emerging technologies from a variety of perspectives. At Cientifica we have been working with emerging technologies for fifteen years, whether developing field emission displays in the mid 90’s, or advising governments, companies and the World Economic Forum in recent years. Over this …