graphene waste water treatment

From Lead Poisoning in Flint to Landfill Reclamation, It’s All About The Cost of Treating Water

The lead poisoning scandal in Flint, Michigan, highlighted that access to safe drinking water is not just an issue in the developing world. And as Reuters reports, “while poverty remains a potent predictor of lead poisoning, the victims span the American spectrum – poor and rich, rural and urban, black and white. An examination of lead testing results across the …

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What Use Is Nanotechnology?

Technology Review, besides being a great magazine edited by Jason Pontin, who I have known since the heyday of Red Herring, also puts on some great conferences. So I was excited and honoured to be invited to EmTech Spain, a two day conference in Malaga focussing on emerging technologies. Along with my World Economic Forum colleague Javier García Martínez of …

Innovation Starvation or Risk Avoidance?

While working on our report on Using Emerging Technologies to Address Global Risks, one of my favourite SciFi authors, Neal Stephenson, popped up with an essay on Innovation Starvation. It echoes Tyler Cowen‘s arguments that all the easy big stuff has been done,  and that all we have left to look forward to are incremental improvements rather than world changing …

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 …

Nanotechnology in Electronics, a Primer on Life Cycle Risk Assessment

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, which is not a biker gang but “a diverse organization engaged in research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to promote human health and environmental justice in response to the rapid growth of the high-tech industry”  has released a report looking at “Nanotechnology in Electronics: The Risk to Human Health and the Environment” It doesn’t really add much to …

What Are Emerging Technologies For?

Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and re evaluate what we are doing and why, something my good friend Doug Mather of the Creation Company has been urging people to do for years. It is very easy, whether in science or in business to develop myopia or tunnel vision, concentrating so hard on one particular task or goal …

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 …

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, …