AC/UNU Millennium Project
Future Issues of Science and Technology

Results of Round 1 and Preparation for Round 2

 

 

Section 1.

 

The international panel was asked to rate a list of 14 questions using the scale below. The average of their responses are listed below in order of importance globally.

 

If the 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

 

 

Original No.

Questions

Importance Globally

Priority to my Country

1

What challenges can science pursue whose resolution would significantly improve the human condition?

 4.47

 4.04

13

What potential catastrophes could change the world within the next 25 years which science might help to avoid?

 4.14

 3.70

2

What future applications of science or scientific research have the greatest potential for danger to human survival?

 4.08

 3.62

5

What will help bridge the S&T gap between developed and developing countries?

 4.06

 3.59

3

What are the principal factors that will influence science over the next 25 years?

 3.93

 3.71

6

What emerging technologies are likely to have the most positive economic impact over the next 25 years?

 3.92

 3.96

4

What are some seminal, key, or profound scientific developments that might occur during the next 25 years?

 3.86

 3.63

10

How can ethical consequences be more thoroughly considered in S&T management?

 3.82

 3.74

7

What are the key emerging international issues in S&T over the next 25 years?

 3.80

 3.65

8

How can science improve management of the risks induced by scientific research and its applications?

 3.77

 3.54

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?

 3.75

 3.67

12

Which scientific fields have the greatest potential to improve the other fields of science?

 3.64

 3.54

9

How can integrity in scientific research be improved?

 3.55

 3.32

11

How might public perceptions of science change over the next 25 years?

 3.43

 3.45


Section 2.

 

The international panel was asked to suggest additional questions to those given in the previous section. The participants suggested many additional questions, which have been distilled and are listed below. To help reduce the number of these to be included in round 2, please rate the newly suggested questions by the following scale:

5= of overwhelming importance                                      2= of minor significance                   

4= of great significance                                                     1= of no significance         

3= of some significance    

 

Questions

Importance

1.  How can interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary scientific research be strengthened and accelerated?

 

2.  How can particular areas of study (such as long-term research of bio-geo-chemical cycles and other slowly changing phenomena) be made more attractive to individual scientists and how can their continuity be institutionally assured?

 

3.  What is the future of medicine and healing and what are its effects likely to be on society and our personal lives?

 

4.  What is the impact of S&T on human compassion, on culture?

 

5.  To what degree and consequence will science depend on profit-making business?

 

6.  How should the broad scope and purely academic nature of science be maintained in the face of limiting financial and social pressures?

 

7.  How should the performance of scientists be measured?

 

8.  How can the social & economic impact of scientific research be evaluated?

 

9.  How can science balance between risk avoidance decisions that are based on the values of the developed countries when some risk taking could be of benefit to developing countries? (e.g. genetically modified foods)

 

10 What can S&T do to stabilize (and/or even reduce) world population?

 

11. What scientific developments could have the greatest impact on sustainability on earth even beyond 25 years?

 

12. What scientific developments have the greatest potential to make feasible/economic the eventual cost-effective settlement of space by human beings?

 

13. How can S&T help in transition to an alternative civilization capable overcoming modern global problems?

 

14. How can R&D management be designed to balance among the regulatory powers of the market, government, and civil society most effectively?

 

15. How can scientific talent (particularly in disadvantaged countries) be spotted and allowed to develop?

 

16. How can science education come to be a strong component of the educational curriculum especially for developing countries?

 

17. How can science become a more important part of the decision making process?

 

18. Do intellectual property rights strengthen or weaken the S&T gap between developed and developing countries?

 

19. How can funding of S&T be directed toward research which more directly addresses the global basic needs of humanity?

 


Section 3.

 

For each of the questions presented in section 1, a list of suggested developments, actions, and/or answers that might address that question was given. The international panel was asked to rate these lists.

 

The following tables present how those developments were rated as per their importance and likelihood, and how confident the panel was about their judgment. They were also asked to suggest additions to the list. The average of the responses are listed below. Selected examples of comments concerning some developments are shown in italics.

 

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). 

 

The following scales was used for rating the developments/actions:

 

Importance                                           Likelihood                                Confidence

5 = Of overwhelming importance                       5 = Almost certain by 2025 5 = Almost certain

4 = Extremely important                                       4 = Likely                                               4 = Very confident

3 = Very important                                               3 = As likely as not                              3 = Confident

2 = Important                                                        2 = Unlikely                                           2 = Somewhat confident

1 = Trivial                                                              1 = Almost impossible by 2025          1 = Not confident

 

 

 


1. What challenges can science pursue whose resolution would significantly improve the human condition?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 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.

4.38

2.98

3.29

 1F.  Simple, inexpensive, effective medicines and corresponding delivery systems to treat widespread diseases and epidemics

4.27

3.48

3.24

 1A.  Improving the efficiency of water use in agriculture by 75%. (including breeding of less water-intensive crops)

4.21

3.44

3.14

 1H.  Climate change - understanding and solutions

4.18

3.12

3.17

 1G.  Improvements in early detection and tracking systems of pandemics

4.07

3.78

3.26

 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. (What about energy cost, and resultant scaling problems?)

4.01

3.31

3.08

 1I.  Advanced computation and artificial intelligence (Any steps in this direction should be taken with the greatest care and with the greatest responsibility to public concern.)

3.62

3.93

3.61

 1E.  Demonstration of the possibility of an environmentally, economically, and culturally sustainable city of at least 1 million people.

 3.48

 2.97

 3.23

 1D.  Demonstrate methods to improve collective intelligence while reducing anti-social behavior.

 3.34

 2.56

 2.92

 1K.  The capacity to manufacture food, goods, and machines atom by atom very cheaply

 3.24

 2.55

 2.99

 1L.  Modifying the human germline (the genes passed on to future generations) to enhance health and intelligence, and reduce violent and anti-social behavior. (what about the very dangerous possible side effects? It may all happen, and may hurt us substantially.)

 2.90

 2.87

 2.89

 1J.  Human communities in space beyond earth - beginnings of space migration

 2.34

 2.37

 3.20

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1.  Developing advanced strong, lightweight materials that do not corrode, are highly resistant to wear, and easy to recycle.

 

 

 

2.  Developing inexpensive lightweight batteries with a power density comparable to gasoline, little capacity loss over thousands of charge-discharge cycles, and that can be completely and efficiently recycled.

 

 

 

3.  Developing small-scale biogas/biofuels generators.

 

 

 

4.  Developing an efficient, inexpensive (e.g. photochemical) process to produce hydrogen from water.

 

 

 

5. Efficient energy storage systems including, for example, spinning wheels, gravitational energy, chemical energy, direct electric energy (cryogen magnets, plasma or ball lightning), hydrogen storage, and fuel cells.

 

 

 

6.  Nanofiltering devices for water purification and recycling in households.

 

 

 

7.  Developing methods for increasing human creativity.

 

 

 

8.  Preserving biological and cultural diversity

 

 

 

9.  Understanding the nature of living matter.

 

 

 

10. Reaching deeper understanding of the quantum foundations of physics.

 

 

 

11. Reaching deeper understanding of the quantum foundations of physics.

 

 

 

12. Providing methods for providing inexpensive medical treatment for poor people.

 

 

 

13. Pursuing deeper psychological and sociobiological research concerning the nature of violence and aggressive behavior

 

 

 

14. Breaking the communication barrier with other live species

 

 

 

15. Advanced accurate forecasting and planning methods to improve efficiency and integration of large technological systems and enterprises.

 

 

 

16. Pursuing the erradication of mental illness

 

 

 

17. Developing improvements in nuclear technology

 

 

 

18. Commercial utilization of desert areas, preparation for biological life and cultivation

 

 

 

19. Techniques for decreasing soil and coastal areas erosion.

 

 

 

20. Techniques for improving water availability to cities and villages (in addition to water desalination quoted above)

 

 

 

21. Better procedures to manage the hydrographic watersheds, especially the international ones

 

 

 

22. Techniques for improving agriculture, foods, forestry, and livestock production.

 

 

 

23. Improved techniques for waste water treatment and village sanitation.

 

 

 

24. Thought-control technology: identify and neutralize contemporary thought-control apparatus- in media, corporations, politics, academia, UN surveys, and public education.

 

 

 

25. Developing a science and technology of governance; eliminating the reward system that allows some sociopaths to rise to the top.

 

 

 

26. Monetary technology.

 

 

 

27. Unification of physics and economics.

 

 

 

28. New bamboo-based, hemp-based, neem-based small scale production processes, materials and products (e.g. paper, building materials, utensils, apparel, personal care.)

 

 

 

29. Science, technology and products for moderated consumer lifestyles.

 

 

 

30. Climate control

 

 

 

31. Low-energy travel means (e.g. zeppelins & all electric vehicles)

 

 

 

32. Apparatus for water purification & extraction of nutrients from grass.

 

 

 

 


2. What future applications of science or scientific research have the greatest potential for danger to human survival?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 2D.  Accidentally - or intentionally - released genetically modified organisms that have serious adverse consequences for the biosphere.

 4.28

 3.31

 3.06

 2H.  Use of biotechnology to build new kinds of biological weapons of mass destruction.

 4.16

 3.61

 3.38

 2G.  Nanotechnology to build stealthy new means of killing large numbers of people.

 3.88

 3.04

 3.13

 2C.  Intelligent Nanotechnology evolves beyond human control.

 3.74

 2.36

 3.17

 2E.   Dissemination of information on potentially dangerous technologies via Internet.

 3.70

 4.16

 3.70

 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.

 3.63

 3.41

 3.30

 2F.   Resumed nuclear testing.

 3.57

 3.29

 3.19

 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.

 3.33

 3.14

 3.18

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Loss of biodiversity resulting from aggressive, exclusionary marketing strategies for genetically altered, patented varieties.

 

 

 

2. Widespread availability of tailored psychotropes (e.g. programmed dream pills).

 

 

 

3. Human cloning.

 

 

 

4. Technological development of the less developed world to the consumption levels of the US.

 

 

 

5. Use of Internet to promote drug use and other socially undesirable actions.

 

 

 

6. Sophisticated ways (e.g. biotechnology and/or nanotechnology) of tracking, controlling and influencing behavior, the human mind and the private sphere of life.

 

 

 

7. Further erosion of spiritual traditions; the impact of applications of scientific research on psyche and physiology

 

 

 

8. Elimination of essentially all forms of information and communications security; use of computer technology to track behavior and actions of everyone.

 

 

 

9. The dissemination of virtual reality products that will increasingly confuse people about what is and what is not real and acceptable

 

 

 

10. More sophisticated military weaponry.

 

 

 

11. Proliferation of nuclear energy.

 

 

 

12. Super intelligent and potent computer viruses/Net terrorism.

 

 

 

13. Creation of new species (e.g. bacteria, virus, plant, insect).

 

 

 

14. Unintended release of toxic substances with long-term hormonal or genetic effects.

 

 

 

15. Use of biotechnology and/or nanotechnology to rapidly create countermeasures to natural or artificial pathogens.

 

 

 

 

3. What are the principal factors that will influence science over the next 25 years?

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

3F.  Education and training of the science workforce.

 3.98

 3.95

 3.82

3C.  Economic contraction or collapse. (Science, more than other enterprises, depends on human beings having a relatively secure base to work from.)

 3.90

 3.26

 3.41

3I.    Scientific information exchange and institutional collaborations.

 3.89

 4.31

 4.18

3A.  Publicly visible scientific disasters or achievements significantly affecting public perspectives and thus funding.

 3.88

 3.61

 3.41

3B.  Public understanding of the relationship of science and technology to the emerging knowledge economy.

 3.78

 3.47

 3.56

3E.   Institutions that encourage/enable multi-disciplinary research.

 3.59

 3.87

 3.69

3H.  Disparity between developed and less developed nations.

 3.39

 4.10

 3.96

3G.  International competition for scientists.

 3.39

 4.04

 3.98

3D.  The rise of belief systems that challenge scientific epistemology. (One can accept scientific epistemology as valid within its own turf, without saying that science per se is a complete epistemology for individual human beings.)

 3.38

 3.00

 3.34

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Increased corporate or private sector control of scientific research and development.

 

 

 

2. Increasing legal impediments to scholarly exchange and the use of research results.

 

 

 

3. Applications of breakthroughs of one discipline in other disciplines.

 

 

 

4. Change in focus of interest (and funding) moving away from computing to biological sciences.

 

 

 

5. Increasing esotericism - inability to communicate between disciplines.

 

 

 

6. International sharing of major infrastructure such as synchrotrons, accelerators, reactors, biotechnology facilities etc.

 

 

 

7. National prestige in scientific activities in the world.

 

 

 

8. Degeneration of natural curiosity and enthusiasm of human beings, concentration on the consumerism life style only

 

 

 

9. Development of wider epistemology; scientific study of “values”, and the role of the Divine

 

 

 

10. Importance of science in basic schooling.

 

 

 

11. Integrated coordinated international planning

 

 

 

12. Availability of resources

 

 

 

13. Key discoveries that will radically shift the paradigm or significantly expand basic understanding.

 

 

 

14. The ability of the scientific community to overcome the ethical challenges and creation of effective ethical codes followed by all scientists.

 

 

 

15. Scientists acquiring capabilities to effectively understand how to connect with people on the streets, and making his work directly related to people’s needs.

 

 

 

16. The decreased return on investment in S &T

 

 

 

17. Increased dialogue between scientists, policy makers, and managers

 

 

 

18. Unanticipated scientific discoveries that create unforeseen opportunities for new science and new technologies to exploit.

 

 

 

19. Wars that accelerate the pace of technological development by demand.

 

 

 

20. Oppressive new and strong bans on certain kinds of research at the behest of religious and/or political fanatics. 

 

 

 

 

 


4. What are some seminal, key, or profound scientific developments that might occur during the next 25 years?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 4H.  Fusion or some other forms of cheap, abundant power with minimal adverse environmental consequences. (Hydrogen fuel cells may qualify. Fusion without SOME adverse environmental consequences is almost impossible -- there is transmutation of the walls, and (potential) dissemination of the ability to generate bomb-grade materials. Does "other" include satellite solar power?)

 4.41

 2.92

 3.16

 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.

 3.83

 2.71

 2.95

 4F.  Computers that achieve awareness and can evolve. (…even though 2025 is tight, the combination of brain-like intelligence AND self-replication at the MACRO level...is almost certainly do-able…)

 3.80

 2.80

 3.15

 4M.  Capacity to build things cheaply and reliably by moving individual atoms and molecules. (I’m optimistic about “self-assembly” where the intermolecular forces perform the … action in this case an enormous number of atoms (can be) moved….  Self-assembly processes operate at the level of individual molecules, with a control analogous to that of SIMD parallel computers -- but not at the level of one atom, one program. The former shows great hope of being cost-effective by 2025, but the latter is… questionable…by 2025.)

 3.76

 2.84

 3.04

 4G.  Self-replicating nano-robots or biochemical structures. (Cells are self replicating biochemical structures.  Self-replicating nanobots are highly unlikely -- unless you count artificial cells…What these artificial cells could do that ordinary cells do not remains totally unknown.)

 3.73

 3.07

 2.96

 4I.    Computational simulation that obviates the need for many large, costly experiments. (Progress will mainly involve adding a few more domains for simulation (e.g. coupled field systems), and some cheaper approximate models and systems (but) reality testing will remain critical.)

 3.68

 3.66

 3.38

 4B.  Discovery of means for controlling gravity. (2025 is really pushing it, (but) this might be less crazy EVENTUALLY than is now thought...)

 3.59

 2.09

 3.14

 4A.  Positive means for controlling the rate of aging of human beings. (Telomerase research is reasonably far along; a first generation technology by 2025 is certainly within sight... but then the issue of cancer incidence (and mutation stuff) will call for a second generation, and there are specialized issues like aging of the brain which have received remarkably little interest)

 3.53

 3.22

 3.18

 4E.  Discovery of a signal or evidence of extra terrestrial life. (Technology is in hand which, with some extension, should allow detection of oxygen or water or even chlorophyll spectral signatures in planets about other stars.)

 3.52

 2.39

 2.88

 4J.   Widespread space-based research, ranging from biology to physics.

 3.43

 3.40

 3.24

 4L.  Human appendage regeneration.

 3.40

 2.98

 2.94

 4K.  Ability to manipulate or "warp" space.( 2025 is too soon. But recent results suggest to me that this is far more plausible in the long-term than a reasonable expert would have thought just a few years ago.)

 3.33

 2.04

 2.94

 4C.  Acceptable means to "correct" low intelligence.

 3.16

 2.59

 2.92

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Remote microprobes that can be implanted in, or circulated through, living organisms or deployed in extreme environments, such as the depth of the Earth's crust to collect chemical and physical data continuously and relatively inexpensively.

 

 

 

2. Human-computer symbiotic, such as implantable brain boosters, e.g. electro-bio-chemical processors with integrated random-access memories and telecommunication circuits.

 

 

 

3. Telesurgery equipment carried on ambulances and stationed at places where many people work or congregate to provide nearly omnipresent specialized medical expertise and skills to stabilize victims of accidents, violence, strokes, and other medical emergencies, before it is too late.

 

 

 

4. Capacity to simulate and experiment with the brain's neurological functional modules, to diagnose disorders and provide therapy for example Parkinson’s, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), etc.

 

 

 

5. Reducing the cost of solar cell manufacture to less than $0.50 per watt.

 

 

 

6. Elucidation of the most effective energy saving system found in the living organisms.

 

 

 

7. The use of genetic information in clinical practice.

 

 

 

8. Radical change in understanding of the foundations of quantum mechanics.

 

 

 

9. The serious research of parapsychological and spiritual phenomena.

 

 

 

10. Holistic device to diagnose integrative health and interaction of all systems.

 

 

 

11. Ceramics replacing metals.

 

 

 

12. Major advances in information theory, computer technology, telecommunications.

 

 

 

13. Economics and sociology becoming sciences.

 

 

 

14. Learn to alter genome to create new or revive old species of animals.

 

 

 

15. Discovering of further general principles of complex systems.

 

 

 

16. Salt water rice

 

 

 

17. Low cost mobile apparatus for water purification and extraction of nutrients from grass.

 

 

 

18. Self-replicating robotic systems for factories, possibly using nanotechnology to make the chips and some of their sensors.

 

 

 

19. Increased use of non-rocket means of space propulsion with corresponding reductions in cost.

 

 

 

 


5. What will help bridge the S&T gap between developed and developing countries?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 5F.  Education and training.

 4.34

 3.85

 3.65

 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. (Implications for sustainability.. would clearly be very large. Implications for science ... would be significant, analogous to a three-fold expansion of the base... but not a qualitative shift.)

 4.02

 3.77

 3.61

 5E.  A new economics that effectively rewards innovation and work but distributes wealth more evenly. (Science is very different…, in terms of the kinds of incentives which work … Patience and a secure base tend to be more important for science. Scientists DO need lots of feedback, but also lots of true freedom to encourage exploration of fundamental new avenues...)

 3.91

 2.70

 3.21

 5C.  More flexible exchange programs that allow reciprocal residency and internships in research labs of other countries.

 3.60

 3.82

 3.46

 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.

 3.55

 4.03

 3.73

 5D.  Deliberate introduction of more programs that require international cooperation, such as the International Space Station and the Human Genome Project.

 3.35

 3.83

 3.50

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Breaking down the new iron curtain between North and South.

 

 

 

2. If the pressure of overpopulation ends, many more countries will be able to afford (basic) science (like China, India, Brazil or Indonesia, etc.).

 

 

 

3. Develop cassette colleges for developing world.

 

 

 

4. Access to the chaotic jumble of fact, misinformation and lies on the Internet by all.

 

 

 

5. Development of an effective all language simultaneous voice translation system.

 

 

 

6. True understanding of how to bridge gaps for doing business with people from different cultures and respecting/preserving those cultural values.

 

 

 

7. Joint implementation, e.g. of environmental policy.

 

 

 

8. Establishing ethical market economy systems and elimination or reduction of corruption.

 

 

 

9. Contracting research to scientists in less expensive countries.

 

 

 

10. Deliberate specialization by developing countries.

 

 

 

11. More open-minded/pragmatic/results-oriented public servants in developing countries.

 

 

 

12. Expansion of global competition.

 

 

 

13. Real democratic institutions established.

 

 

 

 

 


6. What emerging technologies are likely to have the most positive economic impact over the next 25 years?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 6E.  New, clean and inexpensive energy technologies (To be totally clean and inexpensive, there is really only the space-based solar power. Probably not by 2025, for political reasons as much as anything.)

 4.56

 3.33

 3.48

 6A.  Medicines derived from the knowledge founded in the Human Genome Project. (There are trillions of dollars going into stuff which has little chance of qualitatively changing the fate of humanity.)

 4.03

 3.91

 3.52

 6D.  Nanotechnologies.

 4.00

 3.74

 3.42

 6F.  Genetically engineered products.

 3.83

 4.11

 3.70

 6C.  Increased bandwidth capacity for multi-media communications for all Internet users at affordable price.

 3.71

 4.21

 3.87

 6G.  "True" artificial intelligence.

 3.62

 2.94

 3.19

 6B.  Low cost handheld portable computers with satellite access. (Handheld is not the most promising, in terms of major change. Lightweight head-mounted displays and talking toys seem most intriguing right now...)

 3.58

 4.29

 4.00

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Precision agriculture.

 

 

 

2. Much improved medical diagnostics and relatively inexpensive personal wearable and implant cable health monitors

 

 

 

3. New materials such as high-temperature superconductors and Buckyballs, biocompatible implants

 

 

 

4. Acceptable systems of energy generation by nuclear fission using advances in information technology for safety, operation, and monitoring; and control of the nuclear waste stream by means such as transmutation, with acceptable means of waste storage.

 

 

 

5. Sophisticated methods of managing and use of local resources (energy, agriculture, natural medicine)

 

 

 

6. Alternative energy sources

 

 

 

7. The use of cheap computing power to spread micro credit to the poorest of the poor.

 

 

 

8. The use of cheap computing power and the internet to educate the poorest of the poor.

 

 

 

9. Low cost production of food.

 

 

 

10. Low cost water purification and desalination.

 

 

 

11. World governance’s ability to radically reduce the occurrence of wars

 

 

 

12. Radical increase of virtual reality products, at a cost of making collective social stability a larger challenge in the future

 

 

 

13. Waste treatment, recycling

 

 

 

14. Growth of mass transportation at the expense of individual car transportation and development of more efficient and ecological transportation

 

 

 

15. The "emerging" technology of statecraft, which is in its Dark Ages now. 

 

 

 

 


7. What are the key emerging international issues in S&T over the next 25 years?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 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. (Do we want to make sure that everyone on earth (including the terrorists) understands what the opportunities are to really kill everybody? …What agency will control; and what way to organize control of private funded R&D?)

 3.94

 3.10

 3.20

 7H.  How economic interests sort out in an increasingly multi-national world of S&T investments and collaborations.

 3.91

 3.81

 3.36

 7B.  International scientific boards that define terms, standards, and measurements for environmentally friendly technologies and their production.

 3.80

 3.49

 3.33

 7E.  Public ownership of intellectual property critical to serve the public good. ("Harmonizing" the advanced countries with such rules might well [lower] the scientific progress to the average Third World nation... which would hurt the Third World just as much as it hurts the advanced countries, in the end! …Who will adopt the international legislative base? What agency will control; and what way to organize control of private funded R&D?)

 3.74

 2.92

 3.20

 7G.  Complexity and increasingly multi-disciplinary aspects of R&D.

 3.72

 3.89

 3.64

 7F.  Information management and information overload.

 3.72

 3.75

 3.47

 7D.  Shortages of new scientists.

 3.71

 3.09

 3.43

 7A.  Establishment of principles for international scientific collaboration.

 3.40

 3.17

 3.23

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Global justice in access to information.

 

 

 

2. The slanting of scientific research toward weaponry rather than needed developments.

 

 

 

3. Proliferating complexity of large technological systems and of non-transparent software leading to instability and gridlock of biggest metropolises.

 

 

 

4. Open ownership of intellectual property (ala Linux) {This is the truly radical idea -- the New Socialism if you will -- that will almost certainly alter the international S&T landscape}

 

 

 

5. Some portions of science owned and managed by individuals.

 

 

 

6. Science and scientists becoming censured by some countries.

 

 

 

7. Scientists learning to create broad based international boards (with people from the streets, as well as other segments of nations being involved).

 

 

 

8. Efforts by international/multinational bodies to force ideological or religious restrictions on S&T activities  (Antiabortion, antinuclearism, anti-genetic engineering, anti-animal research ... etc.)

 

 

 

 


8. How can science improve management of the risks induced by scientific research and its applications?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 8B.  Establishing an on-going forecasting and risk assessment system (Yes, but the methods will change and even the terms and paradigm is likely to shift as well) (inherently impossible)

 3.82

 3.25

 3.35

 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. (How would one implement this? Would you expect a really intellectually honest response?

 3.65

 3.00

 3.30

 8C.  Requiring that science administrators be trained in science and risk decisionmaking.

 3.56

 3.18

 3.19

 8E.  Generously fund a task force of some of the best natural and social scientists in the world to answer this question  (Who will decide who are the best scientists?)

 3.45

 3.26

 3.40

 8D.  Automating as much scientific inquiry as possible and increasing dependence on computational simulation to replace some experimentation

 3.07

 3.46

 3.27

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Establish UN agreements to avoid taking catastrophic risks in civil society and economic decision-making. (like nuclear fusion plant etc.)

 

 

 

2. Require in-depth, independent risk assessment if the probability of severe consequences is deemed by reviewers to be appreciable. Assessment must go through public review and a comment period.

 

 

 

3. Create objective standards of acceptable risk based on likelihood and seriousness of harm and apply these standards across the spectrum of science.

 

 

 

4. Establish several task forces that would respond to different cultural imperatives, coordinated in some way and acting in accordance with agreed to standards of risk.

 

 

 

5. Introduce global perspectives in training of scientists.

 

 

 

6. Increase international pressure on polluting multinational companies and states.

 

 

 

7. Require the use of simple frameworks designed to help in risk assessment of the scientific community.

 

 

 

8. Generously fund a task force of muti-disciplinary scientists and citizens organized in a way that incorporates the opinions of laymen and address major concerns of people from all countries.

 

 

 

9. Advancing the theory and models of risk assessment and of knowledge about the nature of risk.

 

 

 

10. University scientists should establish meaningful science requirements for non-science university students, in particular political science, prelaw, journalism and business majors who actually manage technological risk.

 

 

 

 


9. How can integrity in scientific research be improved?

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 9C.  Include ethics education in science curricula stressing importance and value of integrity to the scientific process.

 3.70

 3.49

 3.33

 9A.  More rigorous peer review processes. (More competent, not more rigorous, is what is needed. But more competent review systems still do not address head-on some of the integrity problems, which are very widespread. The “Not Invented Here” syndrome, biases due to ego promotion, and other very subtle forms of dishonesty…still remain major impediments to progress in science. Ego promotion ...and dogmatism [are] also major impediments.)

 3.37

 3.22

 3.27

 9B.  Software agents that cross-reference known research and highlight potential problems. (Associative-memory retrieval systems could be very useful, and very plausible. More real "intelligent agents" linked to more comprehensive document systems would [also] be very useful.)

 3.25

 3.47

 3.15

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Provide more publicity to research and researchers' work.

 

 

 

2. Teach people a bit more humility by hands-on experience of being wrong; provide everyone in science with some serious debugging experience.

 

 

 

3. Develop more diversity in research values, etc.

 

 

 

4. Teach a broader perspective including values and moral behavior in science curricula.

 

 

 

5. Create curricula standards that encourage more adventurous research for dissertations.

 

 

 

6. There is no need to improve integrity in science, so leave it alone.

 

 

 

7. Improve effective controls of referee system of scientific periodicals.

 

 

 

8. Reform education to change the current emphasis on competition and individual achievement to a sense for cooperation and teamwork.

 

 

 

9. Provide increased monetary and social status to the peer review process; have reviewers share in the risk and participate in subsequent fame and notoriety to increase the incentive to do it right.

 

 

 

10. Create global guidelines and create and implement international standards.

 

 

 

11. Begin ethics education at the lower school level.

 

 

 

12. Institute prominent prizes for best ethics teachers for scientists (during their school years).

 

 

 

13. Set up the foundations for the supporting multidisciplinary studies.

 

 

 

14. Improve the overall public (and media) understanding of the basic mechanics of the scientific method. 

 

 

 

15. Help make society less reactionary to preliminary results.

 

 

 

16. Increase funding for independent efforts to replicate experimental/observational results.

 

 

 

 

 


10. How can ethical consequences be more thoroughly considered in S&T management?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 10A. Including ethics training in science and technology curricula.

 3.81

 3.61

 3.39

 10D. Including in all large science budgets, funds for study of ethical implications, as was done in the Human Genome Project.

 3.78

 3.49

 3.20

 10E. Intensifying media attention to ethical issues.

 3.70

 3.54

 3.36

 10C. Conducting research into the nature of values, global ethics, and the means by which values are promulgated. (This is called philosophy and has been going for thousands of years)

 3.62

 3.38

 3.29

 10B. Establishing an international science and technology forecasting and assessment institute.

 3.38

 3.23

 3.18

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Well prepared public discussion and assessment ethical issues in media, including how one can diagnose ethical issues and differentiate them from other kinds of rational issues.

 

 

 

2. Involve scientists, spiritual leaders, and the general public in seminar series, workshops, and discussions to jointly explore the ethical dimensions of proposed and ongoing research.

 

 

 

3. Create an international body to develop universally agreed scientific ethical standards à la Hippocratic Oath.

 

 

 

4. To promote holistic description and view of the world, to establish better cooperation between humanities and “hard” natural sciences.

 

 

 

5. Developing a science of values to complement the value of science.

 

 

 

6. An IgNoble prize for scientists that most completely ignored ethical consequences.

 

 

 

 


11. How might public perceptions of science and technology change over the next 25 years?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 11E.  Increasing scientific literacy of the general public increases support for science

 3.83

 3.21

 3.31

 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.

 3.69

 2.76

 3.20

 11D. More people pursue scientific careers because of the opportunities and positive image surrounding these jobs.

 3.44

 3.21

 3.34

 11F. A widespread swing towards more intuitive, less ration approaches to gaining new knowledge (The false opposition between subjective reality and science is responsible for problems both in science and in mass culture. …Some of us believe that a deeper cultivation of intuition and sanity and self-understanding... can be of great value to scientific progress.)

 3.35

 3.01

 3.24

 11C. Decreasing numbers of people go into science because the public believes scientists often ignore the real needs of society. (A major problem is that most people do not have any appreciation at all of what we DON'T know, of how big the frontier is... and many science lobbyists understate the degree of uncertainty.)

 3.30

 2.71

 3.31

 11B. Increasingly, people believe that no matter what the problem, S&T will solve it.

 3.12

 2.71

 3.33

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Public will perceive that a science-based education will pay off and offers high salaries and an interesting life.

 

 

 

2. A decreasing number of people will go into science because of the long duration of the education.

 

 

 

3. A decreasing number of people will go into science because of the low salaries compared to other career opportunities.

 

 

 

4. A decreasing number of people will go into science because science will be seen as an adjunct to corporate commercial activity.

 

 

 

5. Taking the applications of S&T for granted with no deeper understanding and interest in basic research.

 

 

 

6. Seeing science as a complement to a wider richer view of the human situation.

 

 

 

7. The role of technology rises but pure research is seen as having little market practical value.

 

 

 

8. A growing belief that there are types of knowledge humans should not have.

 

 

 

9. People increasingly viewing science as entertainment, support funding for newsworthy expeditions to exciting locations, investigation of bizarre phenomena, etc.  Entertainment value becomes an unstated criterion for funding.

 

 

 

10. Continued degradation of the public's ability to understand and reason with quantitative information, insistence on “clear” explanations rather than realistic descriptions of natural phenomena.

 

 

 

 

 


12. Which scientific fields have the greatest potential to improve the other fields of science?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 12H. Biology and genomic sciences.

 4.01

 3.87

 3.45

 12A. Nanoscience, by providing nanoinstrumentation.

 3.98

 3.54

 3.34

 12E. Advanced computation and simulations.

 3.86

 4.07

 3.69

 12J.  Physics

 3.65

 3.60

 3.32

 12F. Artificial intelligence. (True artificial intelligence is unlikely to give us much basic scientific progress by 2025!! But moderate intelligent agents -- more intelligent than today's mindless web crawlers but less than a real brain -- could be very useful in day-to-day literature reviews and such.)

 3.62

 3.23

 3.19

 12I.  Plasma and fusion sciences  (Plasma/MHD technology OTHER THAN fusion may be more important than plasma fusion. For example, plasma-based hypersonics offers a potential revolution in cost to earth orbit, and thus in our chances of settling space at a profit)

 3.54

 3.20

 2.96

 12B. Consilience, by linking apparently disparate ideas into a cohesive whole.

 3.54

 3.09

 3.06

 12D. Intelligence amplification through applications of cognitive science for human-computer symbiotics.

 3.48

 2.93

 3.01

 12G. Development of a science of ideas for the systematic organization and generation of ideas

 3.32

 2.91

 2.96

 12C. Intelligence amplification through genetic manipulation since better minds will affect all fields.

 3.11

 2.45

 2.88

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Polymer Science, especially for well-defined molecular architecture synthesis concerned with nano- and bio-sciences.

 

 

 

2. Reliably reproducible quantification in social science research.

 

 

 

3. Chemistry and new chemical methods involving for example, renewable feed stocks for chemical industry, low waste production, sustainability, “green chemistry” and nanotechnology related to chemical functionality.

 

 

 

4. Psychology; parapsychology; medicine.

 

 

 

5. Axiology and science of value.

 

 

 

6. Mathematics.

 

 

 

7. Holistic approaches in economics and social sciences.

 

 

 

8. Integrated transdisciplinary assessment.

 

 

 

9. Astrobiology, by challenging all fields and encouraging interdisciplinary thinking.

 

 

 

 

 


13.  What catastrophes could change the world within the next 25 years which science might help avoid? 

 

In this case, “importance” rating was omitted, as by definition these developments are all of exceptional importance.

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

 13A. Global epidemics, plagues, naturally caused or by human action such as an adverse genetic mutation.

 3.22

 3.11

 13F. Economic meltdown - a major worldwide depression.

 2.98

 3.12

 13G. Magnitude 9 or greater earthquake.

 2.94

 2.81

 13C. Global war. (But not an old fashioned East vs. West war with battle lines; rather a global terrorist war and rise in global crime as a form of war seems more likely)

 2.43

 3.17

 13H. Breakdown of law and order worldwide.

 2.42

 3.22

 13E. Extraordinarily intense solar flare.

 2.18

 2.88

 13D. Intense and deadly gamma ray burst.

 1.98

 2.96

 13B. Large asteroid or comet collision with Earth.

 1.93

 3.08

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Criminal terrorism.

 

 

2. Major unprecedented migration of poor people to the affluent world.

 

 

3. Fragmentation wars among some nations.

 

 

4. Climate change induced crop failures, floods, droughts, sea level rise, and/or extinctions.

 

 

5. Major changes in the intensity and direction of ocean currents, leading to abrupt climate changes.

 

 

6. Near-complete destruction of the ozone layer.

 

 

7. Abrupt shift in climatic zones due to global warming crossing some trigger threshold.

 

 

8. Worldwide decay of human intelligence and ethical behavior.

 

 

9. Failure to support UN and other institutions of global governance.

 

 

10. Fresh water contamination from biological wars or other means.

 

 

11. Gridlock of advanced nations due to excessive complexity of large technological systems not supported by adequate management, planning competence.

 

 

12. Terrorist induced genetic or biological agent that mutates or spreads out of control.

 

 

13. Significant increase in environmental refugees.

 

 

14. Increase in regional warfare over natural resources.

 

 

15. Major energy shortage/crisis.

 

 

16. Reversal of trend toward population stabilization

 

 

17. Crisis in food quality

 

 

 

 


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?

 

 

Actions/Developments/Answers

Import

Likeli

Confid

 14B.  Create on-going forums for dialogues.

 3.66

 3.73

 3.43

 14A. Fund research to produce books, videos, and software programs which show potential resolutions.

 3.56

 3.70

 3.37

Newly suggested developments/actions/answers:

 

1. Create educational systems for politicians, designed to make them more ethically aware and knowledgeable and, in turn, promoters of ethical rationality.

 

 

 

2. Reduce the discrepancy between science haves and have-nots at the personal, national, and international levels.

 

 

 

3. Create more effective programs designed to eliminate discrimination and other forms of social injustice.

 

 

 

4. Produce radio and TV programs and create Websites that explain the science behind everyday phenomena encountered at home and at work in layman's terms.

 

 

 

5. Establish participatory technology/science evaluation and assessment processes based on interviews and learning processes of scientists, decisionmakers, and citizens/public opinion, e.g. building a routine foresight process.

 

 

 

6. Develop ethical standards for those (individuals, NGOs etc) that seek to influence public opinion, and for journalists.

 

 

 

7. Promote methods of policy analysis that counter the innate human tendency to discount future issues.

 

 

 

8. Bring the discussion into education at ALL levels and in ALL fields.

 

 

 

9. Occurrence of some significant global event that scientists have predicted, prepared for, and averted the negative consequences.

 

 

 

10. Introduction of new forms of ethical courts (broadcasted/televised worldwide).

 

 

 

11. Converge multi-disciplines systematically on a common problem, drawing on all science and arts.

 

 

 

12. Let children do experiments at school.

 

 

 

13. Develop a science of teaching and apply it to all humane studies.

 

 

 

14. Reduce spending on ethically unsound projects.

 

 

 

15. Encourage the CNN effect. Use media and educational channels to bridge the gap at low cost to developing countries.

 

 

 

16. Require interdisciplinary education.

 

 

 

17. Require science curricula to include social science courses and visa versa.  Go back to a higher education system that broadly educates individual in many disciplines save specialization for post-graduate work.

 

 

 

18. Fund ways of increasing personal contacts between scientists and non-scientists.

 

 

 

19. Improve the overall public (and media) understanding of the basic mechanics of the scientific method.

 

 

 

20. Use all imaginable means of communication between scientists, stakeholders, policy makers, managers and the public at large.

 

 

 

 


Section 4.

 

This section referred to major S&T issues in the respondent’s country.

The responses were distilled and categorized. These categories are listed below in the order of how frequently they were suggested.

 

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?

 

 

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