8 mins

What will it take to master the fourth industrial revolution?

What will it take to master the fourth industrial revolution

In April 2000, Bill Joy famously wrote in Wired Magazine: Our most powerful 21st-century technologies – robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech – are threatening to make humans an endangered species. At the time, Joy was an accomplished technologist and chief scientist at Sun Microsystems. Yet he argued passionately that society was in danger of being ...

6 mins

Five steampunk technology trends to watch for in 2016

Steampunk smart pill

It’s that time of year again when technology pundits peer into their crystal balls, and predict the hottest tech trends of the coming twelve months. Let’s be honest though, these lists can get a little stale. So I thought I’d break ranks this year by imagining what a top tech trends list would look like in a “steampunk” world, where steam engines, clockwork mechanisms, and retro-artistic flair, rule supreme.

8 mins

Responsible development of new technologies critical in complex, connected world

The World Economic Forum’s 2015 top 10 emerging technologies reflect the tremendous potential of technology innovation. Yet to build a resilient tech-based future, we need new ideas, new research and new tools that will enable us to realize the benefits of technology innovation, while keeping us a safe distance from potentially catastrophic collapse. It’s a tough challenge, and one that will demand unprecedented levels of interdisciplinary investment, collaboration and creativity. Yet the price of not innovating responsibly is one that may just be too large to live with.

3 mins

Responsible Innovation – Seventeen Haiku

How do you creatively explore the challenges and opportunities of developing new technologies responsibly?  This past summer, the University of Michigan Risk Science Center partnered with the V2_ Institute for Unstable Media in Rotterdam to just this.  And the result? A book of seventeen haiku! Exploring Responsible Innovation The book was the result of thirteen academics from ...

6 mins

Framing Emerging Technologies

How do we chart a path forward toward the effective and responsible development and use of new technologies?  For the next two years, the World Economic Forum Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies will be tackling this and other questions as it develops ways of supporting informed decisions on technology innovation in today’s rapidly changing world. I’ll ...

5 mins

Nanotechnology – has the UK dropped the nano-ball?

I must confess to being rather saddened this morning to read Roger Highfield’s New Scientist blog on the state of nanotechnology in the UK.  Hot on the heels of reports that the company Nanoco is threatening to leave Britain for more fertile grounds, it left me wondering what has happened to the promise of ten ...

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 ...

6 mins

Ten weeks to save the world: Nature does the Singularity University

You’ve heard the rumors and read the hype – but what really goes on at the Singularity University, based at the NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley?  Nature’s Nicola Jones recently went along to take a look, and her report has just been posted – it’s well worth reading. The Singularity University was co-founded in ...

7 mins

Getting from A to B: Technology innovation, global challenges and the Davos process

There’s been something of a theme running through my day at The World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos today – getting from A to B.  The “A” in this case is technology innovation, and the “B” the problems we hope it will solve – the big ones like world hunger and disease, as well as ...

Ten emerging technology trends to watch over the next decade

Ten years ago at the close of the 20th century, people the world over were obsessing about the millennium bug – an unanticipated glitch arising from an earlier technology.  I wonder how clear it was then that, despite this storm in what turned out to be a rather small teacup, the following decade would see ...

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