Canadian Science, Technology and Innovation Policy: The Innovation Economy and Society Nexus
by G. Bruce Doern, David Castle, Peter W.B. Phillips
The book examines eight STI policy domains in Canada and the nature of STI agenda-setting. It presents new critical analysis about related developments such as significantly changed concepts of peer review, merit review, and the emergence of big data in the digital age and Internet information economy and society. The different ways in which federal versus provincial STI policies have impacted on both levels of government are examined, including STI as it relates to and impacts on Canada's natural resources. Key STI departments and agencies are probed as they function increasingly in networked and partnership clusters and settings as Canada seeks to keep up and lead in a highly competitive global STI system. The book also examines numerous realms of technology across Canada in universities, business and government and various efforts to assess new technologies. These include biotechnology, genomics, and the Internet but also earlier technologies such as nuclear reactors, satellite technology, and evolving computer technologies. The authors assess whether an S&T-centered innovation economy and society nexus has been established in Canada. An innovation economy and society is one that aspires to, and achieves, some kind of moving and interacting balance between STI directed at commercial, private or market objectives and STI deployed to achieve social objectives, including delivering public goods and supporting values related to redistribution, fairness, and community and citizen empowerment. The nature of science advice across prime ministerial eras is also probed, including recent concerns in the Harper era about the claimed muzzling of government scientists in an age of continuous attack politics.
A Dangerous MasterHow to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control
by Wendell Wallach
A Dangerous Master: How to keep technology from slipping beyond our control provides a entertaining primer on the emerging technologies with a little science, history, discussion of benefits, and special attention to the societal impact and risks posed by innovative tools and techniques. We are in the midst of a veritable Techstorm of new possibilities, all of which are being developed simultaneously.
While other books and news headline focus upon specific discoveries and innovations, A Dangerous Master presents a comprehensive overview of the societal impact of so many different means to alter human live, our society, our economy, and our environment. Among the challenges are radical life extension, technological unemployment, an arms race to produce autonomous robotic weapons, driverless cars, synthetic organisms, new methods to produce energy, and devices and drugs that enhance human capabilities. We may be on a path towards inventing the human species, as we have known it, out of existence.
Examining the players, institutions, and values that stand in the way of the regulation of everything from autonomous robots to designer drugs, A Dangerous Master proposes solutions for regaining control of our technological destiny. Wallach’s nuanced study offers both stark warnings and hope, navigating the middle ground between speculative fears about a dystopian future and the hype surrounding technological innovations. An engaging, accessible, and masterful analysis of the forces we must manage in our quest to survive as a species, A Dangerous Master forces us to confront the practical—and moral—purposes of our creations.
“Hordes of technologies emerge in lockstep with warnings of their risks. Ethicist Wendell Wallach sorts the hysteria from the hazards in this magisterial study.”
“Wendell Wallach, it seems, is always a few years ahead of the rest of us. In this marvelous book, he takes us to the technological frontier and shows us where, why, and how our most promising technologies could turn on us. Wallach is levelheaded and thoughtful, combining his encyclopedic knowledge of emerging technology with a sense of history and an abiding respect for humanity. A Dangerous Master is fascinating, important, and—in defiance of its own gravity—a joy to read.”
—Joshua Greene, Director, Harvard Moral Cognition Lab and author of Moral Tribes
“This timely book offers a balanced assessment of the upsides and risks of a wide range of fast-developing technologies. It deserves a wide readership.”
—Martin Rees, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge, and author of Universe and Just Six Numbers