Kristin: Last night I went to a talk by technology futurist, Dr Jack Bacon for National Science Week. Dr Bacon’s career includes experience at NASA and spans a number of technological innovations such as controlled nuclear fusion, space exploration and artificial intelligence. The theme of his talk was to highlight the acceleration of human knowledge and to consider the implications of this for the future. First he introduced the idea that human achievement is growing. We are getting faster, wealthier and having more ideas, at least as shown by the speed of athletes, the stockmarket and the number of new patents. He talked about the increase in information that is available (apparently last year we sent more digital information than the total of all knowledge to date); and that Moore’s law and Robert’s law (in relation to bandwidth) mean we are at the cusp of an information explosion. What are the implications? We are already seeing effects in convergent sciences like nanotechnology and bioinformatics and in mutidiscplinary endeavours like new media arts. The diversity of perspectives as a result of more mixed cultures and genders in the culturally influential workplace means that we expect new ideas to continue to grow. Whether all this knowledge equals wisdom was raised during question time, but answered deftly by Dr Bacon – he said that greater awareness was likely to lead to a more ‘planetary’ outlook rather than a focus on smaller groups. Therefore we were more likely to strive for better planetary outcomes, so wisdom was possible. Dr Bacon has published these ideas in a book called “The Parallel Bang”.