Doomsday or Law and Order?

The Society for the Study of New and Emerging Technologies (S.NET) reflected on innovative ways to govern nanotechnologies and other emerging technologies responsibly with a wide variety of stakeholders, at their annual conference in Bergen, Norway on 12-14 October 2016. The opening key-note lecturer Silvio Funtowicz gave a doomsday vision, implying that history is full of revolutions moving from one world order to another. As we can’t plan the future, we will simply have to contribute our share to the transition and hope for the best.

The second key-note lecturer Joseph Dumit painted an even bleaker picture in which profit-hungry large corporations engaged in large scale ‘terraforming’ of the healthcare and oil fracking sectors, without any ethical consideration. Civil Society actors needed counselling to keep up the good spirit and achieve modest local successes.

At the end of the day, Sheila Jasanoff entered the scene to restore Law and Order at the Technological Frontier, inspiring hope in the younger generations of social scientists and humanities scholars interested in emerging technologies.

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