AC/UNU Millennium Project

Future Issues of Science and Technology

Round 1


Invitation
Instructions
Questionnaire
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4

Invitation
On behalf of the Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University and its sponsors, we have the honor to invite you to participate on the Future Issues of Science and Technology International Panel.Approximately 200 advanced science or technology experts are being invited. The central objective of this study is to seek a broad range of international perspectives on the emerging issues and forces that are likely to influence the future of science and technology programs and their management.
You have been selected by your country’s Science Attaché to Washington, D.C. or by the Millennium Project and its representatives around the world to participate in this two-round questionnaire on future issues of science and technology (S&T).

The Millennium Project is a worldwide effort to collect and synthesize judgments about emerging global challenges that may affect the human condition. Its annual State of the Future and other special reports are used by decision-makers and educators to add focus to important issues, clarify choices, and improve the quality of decisions.The Millennium Project is sponsored by the organizations listed on the "Sponsors and Affiliated Institutions" page with an additional grant for this S&T study from the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy.

This questionnaire begins a three-year assessment of S&T issues over the next 25 years that may affect future S&T management and policy. The first year looks at these issues through a two-round questionnaire (the first of which is enclosed). The second year explores the implications of the first year’s results for S&T management.And the third year makes the policy consequences explicit via alternative scenarios.

The results of this research will be of interest and value to the national and international scientific communities and the institutions that fund such research, providing the context for setting long-term goals and strategies. Those who respond to this questionnaire will receive the results in a complementary next edition of the State of the Future. No attributions will be made, but respondents will be listed as participants.

Please contact us with any questions and return your responses to arrive at the AC/UNU Millennium Project by 10 November 2000.You will receive the second round in about two or three months, which will be based on the responses to the enclosed questionnaire. We look forward to including your views.

Sincerely yours,

Jerome C. Glenn, Director, AC/UNU Millennium Project

Theodore Gordon, Senior Fellow, AC/UNU Millennium Project


Instructions

The initial set of questions and answers enclosed were selected by the Millennium Project’s staff in consultation with the study’s Science and Technology Steering Committee augmented by Embassy Science Attachés to Washington, D.C. You are asked to judge the importance of the questions in Section 1, and suggest additional questions, in Section 2. Section 3 asks you to rate an initial set of answers to the questions in Section 1, and for your additional suggestions. Finally, in Section 4 you are asked to briefly state your current and preferred future national S&T priorities.

You are not requested to answer every question.Just provide your judgments about those items within your expertise and interest.

Since faxes (that include hand written responses) may be difficult to read, please consider sending your response by email to make sure your views are recorded correctly. This questionnaire can be downloaded from http://acunu.org/millennium/rd1-st.html. In this way you can fill out the questionnaire on your computer off-line and then send it back by email.Or you can type your answers without the text of the questions and send an e-mail, fax, or letter with just the question numbers and your responses:

1.1 # #
1.2 # #
1.3#

etc

2.Type additional questions….

1A#

1B ##

etc.

text of additional answers

etc.

Please respond by 10 November 2000 and include your name, institutional affiliation and title, along with your post mail address, email, and fax number. All responses are confidential and no attributions will be made.

Please respond by e-mail to acunu@igc.org with a copy to jglenn@igc.org and Tedjgordon@worldnet.att.com, or fax to +1-202-686-5179, or airmail to: The Millennium Project, American Council for the United Nations University, 4421 Garrison St. NW, Washington, DC 20016 USA.


Questionnaire

Section 1.

Please provide judgments (using the scale below) about the importance of each question. For the purpose of Section 1 of this questionnaire, "Importance Globally" and “Priority to My Country” are defined as:if the question is answered, it could provide guidance to the selection, funding and management of S&T activities by government, private organizations, or NGOs that sponsor and conduct scientific research and technological development.

If this question could be answered, the answers would be:

5 = Of overwhelming importance/priority

4 = Of great significance 
3 = Of some significance
2 = Of minor significance 
1 = Counterproductive

 
Questions
Importance Globally
Priority to my Country
1. What challenges can science pursue whose resolution would significantly improve the human condition? 
   
2. What future applications of science or scientific research have the greatest potential for danger to human survival?
   
3. What are the principal factors that will influence science over the next 25 years?
   
4. What are some seminal, key, or profound scientific developments that might occur during the next 25 years?
   
5. What will help bridge the S&T gap between developed and developing countries?
   
6. What emerging technologies are likely to have the most positive economic impact over the next 25 years?
   
7. What are the key emerging international issues in S&T over the next 25 years?
   
8. How can science improve management of the risks induced by scientific research and its applications?
   
9. How can integrity in scientific research be improved?
   
10. How can ethical consequences be more thoroughly considered in S&T management?
   
11. How might public perceptions of science change over the next 25 years?
   
12. Which scientific fields have the greatest potential to improve the other fields of science?
   
13. What potential catastrophes could change the world within the next 25 years which science might help to avoid?
   
14. How can the chasm be bridged between scientists and non-scientists regarding their views on the nature of science, other ways of knowing, social construction, and directions for scientific inquiry?
   

Section 2.

Please suggest other questions that you think are as, or more important than those above, which you strongly believe should be added to this study:
 
 
 
 
 

Section 3.

The following table lists future developments that might contribute to the answers to the questions in Section 1.Please rate just those developments about which you have some expertise or interest as to their importance (if they were to occur), their likelihood of occurrence within the next 25 years, and how confident you are of your judgment.

In the context of Section 3 of this study, the attributes of an important development include: scope (the number of people affected), significance (the amount of the impact), and permanence (irreversibility of the impact).

Please use these scales

Importance
5 = Of overwhelming importance

4 = Extremely important


3 = Very important
2 = Important
1 = Trivial

Likelihood
5 = Almost certain by 2025
4 = Likely
3 = As likely as not
2 = Unlikely
1 = Almost impossible by 2025

Confidence
5 = Almost certain
4 = Very confident
3 = Confident
2 = Somewhat confident
1 = Not confident

Please add your own answers to these questions in the space marked “Other suggestions.” Please take as much space as you need. References for your answers are most welcome.
 
1. What challenges can science pursue whose resolution would significantly improve the human condition?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
1A. Improving the efficiency of water use in agriculture by 75%.      
1B. Cheap, efficient, means for providing potable water from salt or brackish sources at prices comparable to naturally available water in quantities sufficient to ease global water issues.      
1C. Commercial availability of a cheap, efficient, environmentally benign, non-nuclear fission and non-fossil fuel means of generating base load electricity, competitive in price with today’s fossil fuels.      
1D. Demonstrate methods to improve collective intelligence while reducing anti-social behavior.      
1E. Demonstration of the possibility of an environmentally, economically, and culturally sustainable city of at least 1 million people.      
1F. Simple, inexpensive, effective medicines and corresponding delivery systems to treat widespread diseases and epidemics      
1G. Improvements in early detection and tracking systems of pandemics      
1H. Climate change –understanding and solutions      
1I. Advanced computation and artificial intelligence      
1J. Human communities in space beyond earth – beginnings of space migration      
1K. The capacity to manufacture food, goods, and machines atom by atom very cheaply      
1L. Modifying the human germline (the genes passed on to future generations) to enhance health and intelligence, and reduce violent and anti-social behavior      
1M. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
2.What future applications of science or scientific research have the greatest potential for danger to human survival?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
2A. Commercial applications of the human genome information in preconception modification of somatic cells to achieve certain physical or behavioral characteristics of the resulting child and adult.      
2B. Development and wide spread application of single species agriculture, for example, the use of a single variety of corn or wheat to produce one quarter of the world's output of that crop, i.e., reduced biodiversity.      
2C. Intelligent Nanotechnology evolves beyond human control.      
2D.Accidentally – or intentionally – released genetically modified organisms that have serious adverse consequences for the biosphere.      
2E. Dissemination of information on potentially dangerous technologies via Internet.      
2F. Resumed nuclear testing.      
2G. Nanotechnology to build stealthy new means of killing large numbers of people.      
2H. Use of biotechnology to build new kinds of biological weapons of mass destruction.      
2I.Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
3.What are the principal factors that will influence science over the next 25 years?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
3A.Publicly visible scientific disasters or achievements significantly affecting public perspectives and thus funding.      
3B. Public understanding of the relationship of science and technology to the emerging knowledge economy.      
3C.Economic contraction or collaps.      
3D. The rise of belief systems that challenge scientific epistemology.      
3E. Institutions that encourage/enable multi-disciplinary research.      
3F. Education and training of science workforce.      
3G. International competition for scientists.      
3H. Disparity between developed and less developed nations.      
3I. Scientific information exchange and institutional collaborations.      
3J. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
4.What are some seminal, key, or profound scientific developments that might occur during the next 25 years?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
4A.Positive means for controlling the rate of aging of human beings.      
4B.Discovery of means for controlling gravity.      
4C.Acceptable means to “correct” low intelligence.      
4D.Discovery of the underlying principle, “the final theory” that links quantum physics and relativity to explain the range of particles and forces that make up the universe.      
4E.Discovery of a signal or evidence of extra terrestrial life.      
4F.Computers that achieve awareness and can evolve.      
4G.Self-replicating nano-robots or biochemical structures.      
4H.Fusion or some other forms of cheap, abundant power with minimal adverse environmental consequences.      
4I.Computational simulation that obviates the need for many large, costly experiments.      
4J.Widespread space-based research, ranging from biology to physics.      
4K.Ability to manipulate or “warp” space.      
4L.Human appendage regeneration.      
4M.Capacity to build things cheaply and reliably by moving individual atoms and molecules.      
4N. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
5.What will help bridge the S&T gap between developed and developing countries?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
5A. Use of collaboratories for tele-science so that people can work as if they were in one lab even though they are in different locations around the world.      
5B. Very low cost, multi-purpose, portable computer communications useful to the poor majority to begin to enter the education, economic, and health systems beyond their village.      
5C. More flexible exchange programs that allow reciprocal residency and internships in research labs of other countries.      
5D. Deliberate introduction of more programs that require international cooperation, such as the International Space Station and the Human Genome Project.      
5E. A new economics that effectively rewards innovation and work but distributes wealth more evenly.      
5F.Education and training.      
5G. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
6.What emerging technologies are likely to have the most positive economic impact over the next 25 years?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
6A. Medicines derived from the knowledge founded in the Human Genome Project.      
6B. Low cost handheld portable computers with satellite access.      
6C. Increased bandwidth capacity for multi-media communications for all Internet users at affordable price.      
6D. Nanotechnologies.      
6E. New, clean and inexpensive energy technologies      
6F. Genetically engineered products      
6G.“True” artificial intelligence      
6H.Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
7.What are the key emerging international issues in S&T over the next 25 years?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
7A.Establishment of principles of international scientific.      
7B. International scientific boards that define terms, standards, and measurements for environmentally friendly technologies and their production.      
7C. Assuring that projects that can have deleterious consequences (from environmental pollution to tools for terrorists) have full visibility and public scrutiny, no matter where they occur.      
7D. Shortages of new scientists.      
7E. Public ownership of intellectual property critical to serve the public good.      
7F. Information management and information overload.      
7G.Complexity and increasingly multi-disciplinary aspects of R&D.      
7H.How economic interests sort out in an increasingly multi-national world of S& T investments and collaborations.      
7I. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
8.How can science improve management of the risks induced by scientific research and its applications?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
8A. Requiring investigators to forecast plausible unintended consequences of their research and to address the means for minimizing these developments as a routine part of their research.      
8B. Establishing an on-going forecasting and risk assessment system      
8C. Requiring that science administrators be trained in science and risk decisionmaking.      
8D. Automating as much scientific inquiry as possible and increasing dependence on computational simulation to replace some experimentation      
8E. Generously fund a task force of some of the best natural and social scientists in the world to answer this question      
8F. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
9.How can integrity in scientific research be improved?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
9A.More rigorous peer review processes      
9B.Software agents that cross-reference known research and highlight potential problems.      
9C. Include ethics education in science curricula stressing importance and value of integrity to the scientific process.      
9D. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
10.How can ethical consequences be more thoroughly considered in S&T management?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
10A. Including ethics training in science and technology curricula.      
10B. Establishing an international science and technology forecasting and assessment institute.      
10C. Conducting research into the nature of values, global ethics, and the means by which values are promulgated.      
10D. Including in all large science budgets, funds for study of ethical implications, as was done in the Human Genome Project.      
10E. Intensifying media attention to ethical issues.      
10F. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
11.How might public perceptions of science and technology change over the next 25 years?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
11A. Public support for government funding of science falling due to the growing belief that scientists do not think (a) about the negative consequences of their work or (b) that the risks outweigh the benefits.      
11B. Increasingly, people believe that no matter what the problem, S&T will solve it.      
11C. Decreasing numbers of people go into science because the public believes scientists often ignore the real needs of society.      
11D. More people pursue scientific careers because of the opportunities and positive image surrounding these jobs.      
11E. Increasing scientific literacy of the general public increases support for science      
11F. A widespread swing towards more intuitive, less ration approaches to gaining new knowledge      
11G. Other suggestions: 
 
 

 

     
12.Which scientific fields have the greatest potential to improve the other fields of science?
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
12A. Nanoscience, by providing nanoinstrumentation.      
12B. Consilience, by linking apparently disparate ideas into a cohesive whole.      
12C. Intelligence amplification through genetic manipulation since better minds will affect all fields.      
12D. Intelligence amplification through applications of cognitive science for human-computer symbiotics.      
12E. Advanced computation and simulations.      
12F. Artificial intelligence.      
12G. Development of a science of ideas for the systematic organization and generation of ideas      
12H. Biology and genomic sciences.      
12I. Plasma and fusion sciences      
12J. Physics      
12K. Other suggestions: 
 
 

 

     
13. What catastrophes could change the world within the next 25 years which science might help avoid?In this case please omit the “importance” rating in the space to the right since, by definition these developments are all of unprecedented importance.
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
13A. Global epidemics, plagues, naturally caused or by human action such as an adverse genetic mutation.      
13B. Large asteroid or comet collision with Earth.      
13C. Global war.      
13D. Intense and deadly gamma ray burst.      
13E. Extraordinarily intense solar flare.      
13F. Economic meltdown – a major worldwide depression.      
13G. Magnitude 9 or greater earthquake.      
13H. Breakdown of law and order worldwide      
13I. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     
14.How can the chasm be bridged between scientists and non-scientists regarding their views on the nature of science, other ways of knowing, social construction, and directions for scientific inquiry.
Importance if it were to occur
Likelihood by 2025
Confidence
14A. Fund research to produce books, videos, and software programs which show potential resolutions.      
14B. Create on-going forums for dialogues.      
14C. Other suggestions:
 
 

 

     

Section 4. (Optional) – Your personal views are requested, but where your responses in this section are the official position of your country, please put “official position” next to the response. For official responses, please send a copy of the relevant parts of the official policy paper in a major language, or a reference for that document. Your personal responses in this section, like your personal responses in the previous sections are “off the record” and no attributions will be made.

4.1 What would be the best investment in basic science for your country’s future?
 
 

4.2 What would be the best investment in applied science for your country’s future?
 
 

4.3 What would be the best investment in technology for your country’s future?
 
 

4.4 What are your country’s current S&T priorities?
 
 

4.5 What are the major S&T challenges important to your country that would (or do already) benefit from an international collaborative, interdisciplinary approach?
 
 

For our analysis, please indicate your area of work:

a.Basic scientific research.

b.Applied research

c.Technology development

d. S&T management and/or policy.

e. Publishing and communications

d. Futurist

Other ________________________
 
 

Please return this questionnaire by 10 November 2000 to have your views included in Round 2.Thank you for your participation in Round 1.


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