5 mins

Responsible innovation key to the success of emerging technologies

Top ten breakthrough technologies The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies today released its annual list of breakthrough technologies. The list highlights 10 trends in technological advancement that could offer innovative solutions to a range of pressing global challenges.  As a member of the council that compiles the list each year, I’m ...

World Economic Forum: Top Emerging Technologies Trends

For the past few months, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has been working on identifying some of the most significant trends in technology innovation.  Published yesterday by WEF, these represent ten areas that we as a council felt are likely to shake things up over the next few years in ...

Exploring speculated catastrophe and mundane reality

Credit: James King Last semester, speculative designer James King worked with myself and a small group of science and public health students at the University of Michigan to explore how a fusion of science and creative art can lead to new insights and modes of communication.  The exercise was part of the A World of ...

Responsible development of… Unobtanium?

I thought I’d post this spoof presentation for the fun of it on the responsible development of “unobtainium”, which seems to have some remarkable similarities with some other emerging technologies: If you’re a little mystified, blame David Berube – who encouraged the initial idea, and embellished it in his own presentation at a recent conference ...

6 mins

Nanotechnology, climate and energy: over-heated promises and hot air?

Friends of the Earth have just released a new report challenging claims that nanotechnology will lead to greener, more energy-efficient technologies, lower-impact technologies. I’ve only had the chance to skim through the report so far, and so don’t have detailed comments on it.  But on my initial skim a number of things struck me:

International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies – sneak peak of contents

Back in the mists of time, I was approached with a crazy proposition – would I help co-edit a book on nanotechnologies regulation!  In a moment of weakness I said yes, and a little more than two and a half years later, the book is finally about to hit the shelves. I actually think the ...

2 mins

What happens when you cross a spider with a goat? Complete the story:

Complete the following: Setting: A well known and sometimes off-beat technology commentator explores new breakthroughs on a popular TV science and tech show. Story: Spiders’ silk is incredibly strong, but in short supply (ever tried harvesting silk from a spider?). So why not take the gene responsible for making spider silk, and splice it into ...

Beyond the obvious – lessons from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The immediate lessons from the Deepwater Horizon disaster are pretty obvious – we (or at least somebody) messed up!  But what about the less-obvious lessons – especially those concerning technology innovation and how it’s handled?  The Fall 2010 issue of Findings – the University of Michigan School of Public Health Alumni magazine – contains a ...

Limited resources and emerging technologies: China does the math

New technologies depend on uncommon materials, and society depends on new technologies.  Which means that economies that develop the former and control the latter have something of an upper hand in today’s interconnected and technology-dependent world. This has clearly not escaped the notice of the Chinese.  China, which controls around 90% of the world’s rare ...

4 mins

Rehabilitating “Risk”

Now that I’ve had some time to get to grips with my new position as Director of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center, I thought it was high time I started letting people know something about where the Center will be heading over the next few years.  Cross-posted on the Risk Science Center’s home ...

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