It was, perhaps, inevitable: Elon Musk announces a humanoid robot designed to help with those repetitive, boring tasks we all hate doing, and all we can think about is a string of dystopian robot sci-fi movies where everything goes horribly wrong.
Yet troubling as the robot futures in movies like I Robot, The Terminator and others are, it’s the underlying technologies — and the intent behind them — that we should be more concerned about.
On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the first part of its Sixth Assessment Report (due in its entirety in 2022), and its strongest warnings to date about the dire challenges of global warming. And yet, compelling as the case is for concerted global action to reduce carbon emissions and put into place more sustainable practices, there is a near-insurmountable problem standing between us and effective climate solutions: People.
The IPCC’s latest report dives deep into the physical basis for human-driven climate change and its consequences, and states unequivocally based on the evidence that “human influence has…
Over the next few weeks, colleges will see a massive influx of students onto campuses and into dorms. I’m looking forward to being able to interact with students in person again, and to soak up the vibe of a buzzing campus.
At the same time, the next few months are going to be challenging as the Delta variant of COVID-19 sweeps the country. And to make things harder, many campuses are facing legal blocks to them requiring the types of safety measures that are needed to curb the virus’ spread.
In a recent presentation that was part of a National Academies of Science-sponsored symposium series, I argued that we need to pay more attention to easy-to-overlook risks presented by AI, and how we can effectively navigate them.
The symposium was focused on how artificial intelligence and machine learning transform the human condition, and was hosted by Los Alamos National Laboratory, The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and the National Nuclear Security Administration. …
I must confess that I get frustrated with best-selling books that paint epic visions of the future.
Too often, they seem to sacrifice nuance and thoughtfulness in favor of crowd-pleasing extremes, from how technologies will utterly transform humanity, to how our technological mis-steps will ultimately destroy us all.
And in many cases they’re plagued with a certainty of insight that belies the expertise underpinning it.
And yet I find myself writing books that are part of this very genre. What on earth went wrong?!
A few weeks back I started a new podcast based on the book Future Rising. The podcast is a series of short reflections on our relationship with the future that, together, paint a bigger picture of this relationship. And today’s episode-the last in this current season-tackles reason.
Reason is both complex and controversial. In some quarters it has overtones of a very narrow way of understanding the past and the future. …
This summer we took my course on socially responsible and ethical innovation (which conveniently uses science fiction movies as a starting point) online.
This is an exciting departure from the in-person course, and one that has led to a number of innovations in how the course is taught. It’s also meant that I’ve needed to capture some of the essence of that course on video.
One of the introductory videos for the new course format is a version of a 20 minute lecture I give on the need to think differently about the intersection between technology, society and the future.
For over a year now there have been conspiracy theories swirling around that COVID was designed and engineered in a Chinese lab, that the research has its origins in the US, and even in some cases that Anthony Fauci-Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-is the evil mastermind behind all of this!
Despite their contorted implausibilities, these theories have persisted in the face of evidence to the contrary. And in recent weeks they have been given a boost as a new wave over concerns around “gain-of -unction research” have hit the headlines.
What exactly is the future, how are we connected to it, and what is our responsibility to it?
These are questions that the new podcast Future Rising grapples with as it takes listeners on a journey that starts with the Big Bang, and ends with our responsibility to future generations within an increasingly complex world.
They’re also questions that are deeply pertinent to my work as an Associate Dean in the Arizona State University College of Global Futures as I grapple with how we build a more just, equitable and vibrant future together — and how we help everyone to…
Several years ago now, I had the pleasure of being the inaugural Charles and Rita Gelman Professor of Risk Science at the University of Michigan. As is often the case with such positions, I was asked to give a public lecture to mark my inauguration.
I gave that lecture back in the fall of 2010. And throughout it it, I had a rather curious device sitting on the desk in front of me.
The device was a double pendulum that was identical to the one that featured in the 2010 movie Iron Man 2, and that ended up being a…