Science and Technology Innovation Program
The Foresight and Governance Project has been exploring how virtual worlds can be used to solve real world environmental problems. Take a tour of the ecological "hot spots" in Second Life, an online 3D virtual world.
Eugene Linden, author of The Future in Plain Sight: Nine Clues to the Coming InstabilityLinden sees nine major indications that the world is veering toward another round of instability in the 21st century. These clues, he says, are "in plain sight": e.g., climate change, migration, population growth, and an imperfectly globalized economy. (First broadcast November 23-29, 1998)
Geoff Dabelko, Director of the Environmental Change and Security Project at the Woodrow Wilson CenterIf environmental problems remain a major challenge in the 21st century, poverty and affluence will be critical factors in shaping that challenge. During the 20th century, rich nations developed a particular pattern of pollution and environmental degradation -- which has yet to be adequately addressed. Likewise, poor nations began despoiling the environment and squandering resources in ways that were distinctive to them. (First broadcast July 19-25, 1999)
Social media is responsible for much positive change in the world. But these new tools can be used by bad actors to foment strife and undermine stability, as seen during violent incidents in the Assam state of northeast India in July 2012. Cybersecurity efforts must take into account the growing potential for cyber-attack using social media, where hoax messages are incorporated into a stream of otherwise legitimate messages, and understand how quickly mobile apps and text services can disseminate false information.
Synthetic biology will allow scientists and engineers to create biological systems that do not occur naturally as well as to re-engineer existing biological systems to perform novel and beneficial tasks. This 2009 report presents a framework for addressing the social and ethical issues surrounding the field.
Can technology help us preserve our freedoms while reducing the threat of terrorist attacks? The Center's Foresight and Governance Project recently convened a group of experts to discuss ways to improve both civil liberties and national security in today's information age where the pressure is high for rapid data gathering and analysis.
Enough voluntary initiatives for nanotechnology have been implemented so they can be looked at together, in a comparative sense, and historically, in terms of their relationship to programs that have preceded them. This report provides that analysis for the first time. In Voluntary Initiatives, Regulation, and Nanotechnology Oversight: Charting a Path, Dr. Daniel Fiorino provides a taxonomy of the various types of voluntary initiatives (past and present) and the partnerships that underlie them, as well as an assessment of the factors that are most likely to contribute to program success. As nanotechnologies advance, along with other emerging technologies, voluntary programs will continue to play an important role in the governance portfolio. For this reason, evaluating and learning from these endeavors will remain critical to better oversight. This report is an important contribution to that learning process.
A new study shows Americans are excited about the prospects of nanotechnology, but concerned about its potential health and environmental effects.