We have recently had an article published in the Journal of Futures Studies. It’s part of a special edition on Australian contributions to the Millenium Project. Our article is titled “The Complex Futures of Emerging Technologies: Challenges and Opportunities for Science Foresight and Governance in Australia” and has been authored by Kristin Alford, Sarah Keenihan and Stephen McGrail. It builds on the contribution we made to the 2011 State of the Future Report.
In this article, we outline trends in the development of high-profile new technologies such as nano- and bio-technology, identifying roles foresight and governance practices must play to enable their usage in addressing ‘wicked’ problems (e.g. climate change). We explain the notion of emerging technologies, and their expected convergences, and consider both their potential and issues faced in the Australian context. Recent trends and emerging issues – such as slower, more problematic development and adoption than expected, and increasingly global competition to establish ‘future industries’ – are reviewed to identify a set of imperatives. These imperatives highlight emerging opportunities and challenges, focussing on how examining alternative futures and perspectives may help enable effective responses to emerging technologies.
Stephen has also written further about this as part of The Conversation’s Millenium Project Series: Global challenge 14: How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition?.