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Security Politics

The Politics and Science of the Future

Assembling Future Knowledge and Integrating It into Public Policy and Governance

This article is the concluding chapter of The Politics and Science of Prevision: Governing and Probing the Future, published by Taylor & Francis Group. To read this open access book, click here.

In a world of complexity, interconnectedness, uncertainty, and rapid social, economic and political transformations, policy-makers increasingly demand scientifically robust policy-advice as a form of guidance for policy-decisions. As a result, scientists in academia and beyond are expected to focus on policy-relevant research questions and contribute to the solution of complicated, oftentimes transnational, if not global policy problems. Being policy-relevant means to supply future-related, forward-looking knowledge – a task that does not come easy to a profession that traditionally focuses on the empirical study of the past and present, values the academic freedom of inquiry, and often sees its role in society as confronting and challenging power and hierarchy.

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Technology CSS Blog

The 21st Century: The Age of Biotechnology

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This graphic shows the key technological innovations of the last two hundred years and forecasts that the 21st century will be shaped by biotechnology. Revisit Claudia Otto and Oliver Thränert’s CSS Analysis to see what this means for the Biological Weapons Convention. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics, click here.

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Journalism Technology

Our Great War Synthesis

A single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the U.S. Navy AEGIS cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70). Image: U.S Navy/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 4 February, 2015.

Remember when the next war started? Now you do.

If we were to describe one of the main missions of the Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare project, it would be using stories to create those “Remember when?” moments about events that have yet to happen. About characters who have yet to change the course of history. Places that will be marked forever as the spot where stone and steel met to spark a global conflagration. Or the information void into which we will peer, seeking any sign at all that the human catastrophe of the next “Great War” might be averted.

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Security Foreign policy

Science Diplomacy with North Korea

Kaesong
Kaesong, North Korea. Photo: http://www.asianews.it/

Just when nobody thought it could get worse, it did. Diplomatic relations with North Korea reached a proverbial low point early this year when Pyongyang followed a long-range rocket test with an underground nuclear explosion. Despite a perceived decline since then in North Korea’s belligerent rhetoric, and despite the reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, political tensions between the two Koreas, and between North Korea and the United States, still remain high. Pyongyang, for example, has recently cancelled scheduled North-South family reunions and there are troubling signs that it may be resuming its plutonium program.

While the prospects for political engagement with the Kim Jong-un regime may indeed remain bleak, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other opportunities for increased dialogue. One of these is science diplomacy, which enables states to use academic collaborations and scholarly exchanges in politically helpful ways. The virtue of this type of diplomacy, which can focus on solving common environmental, health, energy, and security problems, is the ‘neutral’ political space it provides friends and foes alike. Instead of continuing to trap themselves in mutual competition, they can indeed use science to create shared interests and a common destiny.