Science and Technology Publications
There has been little change in public awareness of either synthetic biology or nanotechnology since previous surveys, according to this 2013 poll of more than 800 U.S. adults. In the poll, 23 percent of adults say they have heard a lot or some about synthetic biology, compared with 31 percent who say the same about nanotechnology. The most common associations that respondents make with synthetic biology are that it is unnatural, man-made, and artificial or that it has to do with reproducing life.
Social media is responsible for much positive change in the world. But these new tools can be used by bad actors to foment strife and undermine stability, as seen during violent incidents in the Assam state of northeast India in July 2012. Cybersecurity efforts must take into account the growing potential for cyber-attack using social media, where hoax messages are incorporated into a stream of otherwise legitimate messages, and understand how quickly mobile apps and text services can disseminate false information.
Press coverage of synthetic biology in the United States and Europe increased significantly between 2008 and 2011. This report builds on the project’s earlier study of press coverage in the United States and Europe during the 2003-2008 period. The new report finds an increase in the sheer number of articles about synthetic biology. It further finds that this coverage is driven by high-profile events and that there are growing similarities in how the technology is covered in the United States and Europe. This report also highlights key recommendations from recent reports focused on the press and public engagement.
Read the latest Latin American Program Newsletter, Noticias Winter 2013
Today’s bio-economy, where info-, nano-, and biotechnology converge, has the potential to yield great advances in all sectors, including medicine and energy, by using advanced modes of manufacturing at an atomic scale while achieving reproducible results. This creative convergence sounds exciting, but scientific advances and technological innovation do not come without some risks. Policymakers need to adopt a critical perspective on governance approaches regarding the bio-economy, keeping in mind how it affects our intricate sociotechnical system, our regulatory cultures, and the evolving relationships between researchers, funders, industry and the public.
As today’s policy challenges become more complex, it has become clear that American media — online news, television, radio, newspapers, and magazines— are not up to the task of explaining the problems underlying them or providing citizens with all the information they need to engage in public conversations about them. Democracy cannot function properly without those conversations. But one new medium - videogames — may well fill the gap.
For IT to become sustainable, the federal government must enable change in three areas: (a) embracing agile development, modular contracting, and opensource software; (b) encouraging small business participation; and (c) shifting the federal IT culture through education and experimentation. The adoption of these reforms is vital. The current state of federal IT undermines good work because of its inefficiency and waste.
Imagine, for a moment, a world that is rapidly changing along three dimensions: Structure: a shift from hierarchies to networks; Ownership: transitions from proprietary to open-source models; and Exchange: a movement from classic markets and commodities to a gift or contribution economy. For public policymakers, this emerging zone creates opportunities to craft next generation policy, leadership, and management strategies that can work on the edge of change.
The next industrial revolution will fundamentally change the way we make things, and where. Government needs to create policy frameworks that support the transition to a new manufacturing paradigm and we also need to have a public conversation about what this world should look like and what policies are needed to make sure that both society and the planet will benefit.