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STIR Workshop 4 February 16, 2011 Seamless Integration of Technology & Society for a Sustainable Future Roop L. Mahajan Tucker Chair Professor Director,

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Presentation on theme: "STIR Workshop 4 February 16, 2011 Seamless Integration of Technology & Society for a Sustainable Future Roop L. Mahajan Tucker Chair Professor Director,"— Presentation transcript:

1 STIR Workshop 4 February 16, 2011 Seamless Integration of Technology & Society for a Sustainable Future Roop L. Mahajan Tucker Chair Professor Director, ICTAS Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science Introduction Major challenges facing humanity & a sustainable future IMECE Panel Nov 2010, Vancouver o Relevant questions A winning strategy for a sustainable future Innovation o Incremental & Black Swan o Seamless integration of T &S Concluding remarks

2 Innovation- a key to solving humanitys major problems Major problems –energy, water,.. are complex, require multiple perspectives IDR or integration of the sciences –physical, life, social-- key to solving these problems Buds of creativity bloom at the intersections Bringing natural and social scientists together promotes self-reflection necessary for generating solutions for a sustainable future Integration needs to be seamless –not adhoc My experience Education and research Rewarding, for me, for my students, for my institution, and for society Through seamless integration, we can build a SUSTAINBLE future A few Nuggets

3 The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of the planet. - John F. Kennedy, June 28, 1963 Presidents address before a Joint Session of the Dail and Seanad, Dublin, Ireland. More true today than ever before. What are our vulnerabilities?

4 Looking ahead Top Ten problems of Humanity for next 50 years 1.Energy 2.Water 3.Food 4.Environment 5.Poverty 6.Terrorism & War 7.Disease 8.Education 9.Democracy 10.Population Richard E. Smalley, noted scientist and Nobel prize winner Source: Energy and Nanotechnology Conference, Rice University, May 3, 2003 These problems are complex are challenging are interconnected require multiple perspectives

5 Source: msd-energy-croatia.ppt Demographics 40% of the worlds population is in the fast developing regions.

6 Primary energy per capita (GJ) GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) Energy demand and GDP per capita ( ) As GDP increases, so does the demand for energy Prosperity, Energy Demand

7 Energy Gap 2050: 14 TW 2100: 34 TW 1 TW= 1,000 GW How do we meet this gap? By building new power plants? Building one 1-GW power plant/day will take 38 years !! What is the impact on environment? EIA Intl Energy Outlook Hoffert et al Nature 395, 883,1998; msd-energy-croatia.ppt

8 Who wants this?

9 Environmental Year AD Atmospheric CO 2 (ppmv) Temperature (°C) CO 2 -- Global Mean Temp Tipping points on temperature and CO 2 level indicate urgency J. R. Petit et al, Nature 399, 429, 1999 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, N. Oreskes, Science 306, 1686, 2004 D. A. Stainforth et al, Nature 433, 403, 2005 Climate Change 2001: T he Scientific Basis, Fig 2.22

10 2010 Cancun Climate Summit 29 Nov-Dec 10 Cancun Climate Change Conference agrees plan to cut carbon emissions CLIMATE CHANGE HIGH HOPES, SLOW PROGRESS

11 However… Developing countries want to alleviate poverty and aspire to be Developed – To sustain a >10% growth rate/yr, China is adding ~1 coal-fired power plant/week and has overtaken the US as the largest polluter – India cannot sustain its ~8% growth rate/yr without an order of magnitude increase in power generation and industrial output and hence, Green House Gas (GHG) emissions Developed countries do not want to reduce GHG emissions fast enough as it will impact their already troubled economies

12 Clearly, we need new solutions Economic growth Preserve our environment Perhaps game changer technologies Why not ? We have a pretty good record Bottom Line

13 Looking back Imagine life at the dawn of the 20 th century Radio, TV, computers, and the Internet did not exist No Facebook, Twitter No texting ……… The country was not electrified The first airplane flight was 3 years away The average life span was 46.3 (males), 48.3 (females) --mostly due to unclean water and poor sanitation. The progress is nothing short of STUNNING!!

14 A question: Are there new technologies that can help us meet humanitys major problems? Looking Forward YES

15 High performance computing Computer design tools for buildings –complex system High performance computing Computer design tools for buildings –complex system Low cost, high efficiency PVs ** Batteries Bio-fuels3 rd gen, algae, helioculture Stealth turbine for wind power Smarter grid Traveling wave nuclear reactor Hydrogen economy Clean coal technologies Low cost, high efficiency PVs ** Batteries Bio-fuels3 rd gen, algae, helioculture Stealth turbine for wind power Smarter grid Traveling wave nuclear reactor Hydrogen economy Clean coal technologies Next industrial revolution New phenomena, materials Environmental issues Next industrial revolution New phenomena, materials Environmental issues Technology Mix Cellular & molecular biology Nano Advanced Energy Technologies HPC **Game-changer Technologies Strategic Foresight: Navigating Uncertainty Dr. Alexander Van de Putte; IE Business School Madrid, March 2010

16 Another question: Has the technology story been an unqualified success? However Perhaps the correct answer is qualified yes.

17 Gallop survey Using a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being extremely displeased to 10 being extremely pleased, if your son or daughter or other family member said he/she wanted to be an engineer/scientist, how pleased would you be? 9 However, There is a perception that technology is out of control and that, too often, societies dont have the ability to orchestrate a responsible development of powerful technologies that have the potential for huge economic development. Swierstra, T. and Rip, A., Nano-ethics as NEST-ethics: patterns of moral argumentation about new and emerging science and technology, Nanoethics (2007) 1:3–20; Published online: 5; April 2007, Springer Science + Business Media B.V Qualified success

18 This skepticism arises from a series of errors and resulting disasters DDT Genetically modified crops Chernobyl The confidence of people in the power of technologies to solve problems and improve their quality of life has been undermined. On top of all this, public is not technically well-informed (NAE, NRC survey) Susceptible to misinformation A fear of the unknown Rose, L., and W. E. Dugger, Jr ITEA/Gallup Poll Reveals What Americans Think About Technology. Reston, VA: International Technology Education Association.

19 Humans are hunted by Nano-swarm Emerging technologies Warning bells

20 BBC News, July 11, 2004 Prince Charles on Nanotechnology Discovering the secrets of the Universe is one thing; ensuring that those secrets are used wisely and appropriately is quite another. What exactly are the risks attached to each of the techniques under discussion, who will bear them, and who will be liable if and when real life fails to follow the rose-tinted script? Grey Goo Emerging technologies Warning bells

21 Emerging technologies Warning bells Our most powerful 21st-century technologies - robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech - are threatening to make humans an endangered species. --Bill Joy, Wired Apr 2000 Failing to understand the consequences of our inventions while we are in the rapture of discovery and innovation seems to be a common fault of scientists and technologists; we have long been driven by the overarching desire to know that is the nature of sciences quest, not stopping to notice that the progress to newer and more powerful technologies can take on a life of its own.

22 Another view Among some enthusiasts, however, attempts to halt the development of these technologies, until all the unanswered questions about the socio-ethical impact are unanswered, are considered unethical. Given nanotechnologys extraordinary economic and social potential, it would be unethical, in my view, to attempt to halt scientific and technological progress in nanotechnology. Nanotechnology offers the potential for improving peoples standard of living, healthcare, and nutrition; reducing or even eliminating pollution through clean production technologies; ……. …….even extending the length and quality of life through the repair or replacement of failing organs. Given this fantastic potential, how can our attempt to harness nanotechnologys power at the earliest opportunityto alleviate many earthly ills– be anything other than ethical? Philip J. Bond, US Under-Secretary of Commerce Responsible nanotechnology development, Swiss Workshop Dec 2004, p.7

23 Recap The problems facing humanity –Complex, multi-dimensional, interconnected and have a degree of uncertainty A set of powerful technologies available However, there are challengesTechnological & Societal Need a winning strategy innovative & Integrative (I & I)solutions and approaches Our survival depends on I & I literally. Introduction

24 Human Spark Neanderthals and modern humans evolved from the same ancestors. Neanderthals left Africa and spread to Europe where they lived for about 200, 000 years before they became extinct. Those left behind successfully evolved to modern humans and occupied the planet. The difference: Innovation Winning Strategy Innovation

25 Sources Inventor(s) –driven End- User –Driven Need-based Increasingly assuming more importance Linear vs game-changer Linear– cost reduction, incremental Game changer– paradigm shift, perhaps A Black Swan On Innovation

26 Black Swan A Black Swan is an event that has three characteristics; it is an outlier it carries an extreme impact it has retrospective predictability. "The Black Swan", Nassim Nicholas Taleb

27 On Innovation (contd) Recent research suggests that the most successful innovation occurs at the boundaries/interfaces Buds of creativity bloom at the intersections mahajan Why?

28 My experience AT&T Bell Labs: Interdisciplinary research the norm Condensation soldering IDR Team: Chemists, engineers, material scientists

29 My experience CU-Boulder: IDR Centers CAMPmode o NSF I/UCRC o Engineers, scientists (physics, chemistry) o Highly successful o Many patents, 2 companies spun off. MEDICA o Engineers and doctors o Very creative solutions o A company spun off

30 My experience Virginia Tech: 2006-present ICTAS o A major IDR institute o Innovation is its creed o Black Swan Seminar Series No power point presentations Café X Philosophers, engineers, scientists, Open to public but no systematic effort to reach out Cygnets o Large impact research o Highly successful

31 Recap again We need a healthy dose of innovation to solve humanitys major problems. IDR an engine for innovation Linear/incremental Disruptive/game changer/black swan Societal considerations

32 So far, I have talked about centers and my efforts on integrating engineering and the sciences--physical and life. How about integrating societal considerations? Many questions The imperative of integrating ethical and societal impact in NSF Funding Proposals Panel Session IMECE November 16, 2010 Societal considerations

33 Q1 Why are ethical dimensions, especially societal impact, important for technological discoveries? Q2. What are the consequences of including ethics and societal impact vs. excluding them from any research endeavor? Q3. Why is public perception important to scientific research? Q4. How does this inclusion of ethics and societal impact reflect on educational practices? Q5. When is the appropriate time to integrate societal impact and ethics in research and technology innovation? Q6. How do researchers go about integrating ethics and societal impact? Societal considerations

34 First, some background information Engineers and Humanists: stereotype perceptions Societal considerations

35 …engineering discourse to be the product of Gradgrinds, constituted solely of facts and devoid of imagination and creativity. - humanists (not all)

36 … humanistic discourse to be a form of endless babble that never answers the questions it poses.. - engineers (some)

37 Traditional engineering Creation and innovation Engineers harness the laws of nature to do something useful for society (different mission than of basic science) Humanistic tradition Deep reflection, ethical management of knowledge, interpretation, and judgment for enrichment of human life A Common Objective: Contribute to the development and progress of the human being Different forms of human intelligence but complimentary These perceptions dont hold water on examination.

38 Q5. When is the appropriate time to integrate societal impact and ethics in research and technology innovation? From post-conception (or in some cases from conception itself ) through development to implementation Seamless integration; many benefits Acceptance vs Resistance Sustainable vs possibly limited life Avoid valley of death Generally higher degree of innovation with inclusion Multiple public perspectives can provide out-of-the box questions-- critical to innovation Non-linear / game changer vs linear/ incremental innovation Recall The Black Swan Seminar in Café X Societal Considerations

39 Q6. How do researchers go about integrating ethics and societal impact? To Lab Directors : Embed a humanist in your lab. Have a humanist as a member of your research team right from early stages; co-P.I. on proposalsnot downstream; not even mid-stream but all along. Will insure seamless integration Very rewarding My personal experience Erik Fisher, the embedded humanist in my NT and Thermal Engineering Lab Enriching experience for my students including Erik, and me Led to the concept of Humanistic Engineering Union of these two disciplines, two cultures – A powerful way to transform society. Societal considerations

40 A Humanistic Engineer A 21 st century engineer who is able to adopt multiple perspectives and perform their own socio-humanistic critiques in the absence of qualified humanistic interlocutors -- Fisher and Mahajan* Technically competent and socially integrative Innovative and producer and yet reflective, deliberate and in tune with the social ethical aspects of his/her product *International Conference on Engineering Education, Valencia, Spain, July 2003

41 My personal experience (contd) My interest in HE or Technology & Society expanded beyond research to Curriculum Initiatives: CU-Boulder: NSF GrantNanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE) ME UG curriculum modified to include societal and ethical considerations- addition of modules VT: NUE Grant: A spiral Curriculum Approach o Ishwar Puri, ESM, P.I. o Vinod Lohani, Engineering Education o J. Pitt, Philosophy/ethics o Richard Wokutch, Business o Steve Culver, Academic Assessment Program o Roop L. Mahajan, ICTAS, ME, ESM Societal considerations

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43 My interest in HE or Technology & Society expanded beyond research to Curriculum Initiatives (contd): CU-Boulder: NSF GrantNanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE) ME UG curriculum modified to include societal and ethical considerations- addition of modules VT: NUE Grant: A spiral Curriculum Approach Expansion to graduate curriculum Graduate Interdisciplinary Liberal Engineering Ethics Curriculum (GILEE) Societal considerations

44 NSF/EESE Grant (# ): The GILEE curriculum addresses how issues of engineering ethics and cultural identities are intertwined within a globalized workplace, and eliminates an important disconnect between contemporary ethical issues in technology and engineering practice. Ethics Day (Panel discussions; 2009 and 2010) Ethics Summer Workshop (June 2009) Developed and taught a graduate class on ethics – spring 2010 Co-taught by professors Puri, Lohani, Pitt, Wokutch, Culver & Mahajan Comprehensive survey of both graduate and undergraduate students to get their perspectives on ethics education Offered again in Spring Curriculum Initiative

45 Challenging and complex problems facing humanity A sustainable future requires solving these problems Remarkable developments in human technological ability The large scale application of technical solutions all too often brings unintended consequences of similar magnitude and consequence to the solutions Engineers and scientists therefore can no longer be content to function within the comfortable limits of analytical tools and initially defined objectives and specifications Must include socio-humanistic considerations Concluding Remarks Seamless Integration of Technology & Society for a Sustainable Future

46 The responsibility cannot be shifted exclusively onto policy makers, lawyers, social scientists, professional ethicists and the like Add the rushed tempo of technological development-Schumpeterian pace Need to build reflection in the design process - What are the long-term impacts of following short-term marketing trends? -What is the value of this product? Parameters may be indeterminate and answers uncertain: Need a humanistic perspective Need Integrationseamless Barriers exist but we must overcome these Need to start TODAY, NOW To build a bridge to the sustainable future Concluding Remarks

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48 STIR Workshop 4 February 16, 2011 Seamless Integration of Technology & Society for a Sustainable Future Roop L. Mahajan Tucker Chair Professor Director, ICTAS Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science THANK YOU !!


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