Societal Issues to be adressed by Technologies

Connect the Dots

Societal Acceptance of New and Emerging Technologies will to a large degree (but by far not only) depend on their (perceived) benefits, and their ability to solve societal issues. Our major focus will be at addressing some of the most salient issues such as decarbonisation of energy, water and food security, protecting privacy in the digital world, ability to address equity or increase Health and Well-being, described below.

The UN-Sustainable Development Goals

The UN has finalized in 2015 the framework of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals), that aim at eradicating poverty, hunger, discrimination, improve health and education, and take measures to address to mitigate the climate change. This is a continuation of the MDG (Millenium Development Goals) established in 2000.

This set of goals, presented here, is a very ambitious proposal to eradicate poverty, 

It is also a playdoyer for an inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

The 2017  UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT PROGRESS REPORT is an update of the achievements for the SDG's by the main economies together with proposals for the business community.

Hierarchy of the SDG's

As presented by the Stockholm Resilience Center, the SDGs can be presented as a hierarchy of Goals, adressing:
- the Biosphere: land, water, climate

- the Society: poverty, communities, energy, health, education, gener equality, nutrition

- and the economy: growth and employment, innovation and infrastructures, reducing unequalities, responsible pèroduction and consumption.

An Introduction to Sustainable Development!

Some excellent MOOCS training materials on sustainable development are available at this page sponsored by Jeffrey Sachs -the leading authority in Development Economics. 

What climate change means, the cases for water, energy, food security, urban development, Health, etc.. are very clearly presented in his MOOC course labelled the  Age of Sustainable Development  a great, if not the best, comprehensive and readible starting basis on this, made by Jeffrey Sachs, an economist of a world-reputation, who was instrumental to the elaboration of the SDG presented above. 

The course is a companion to his Book with the same title.

The Great Acceleration

All trends, such as demographics, transportation, water-land-energy use, pollution, urbanisation, etc... present a rate of acceleration in the form of exponential curves that are getting similar to the "run-away" chemical reactions. 

This is called The Great Acceleration, and it will create formidable challenges ahead of us, and our ability to develop and implement adequate solutions through Research and Innovation will be critical. 

Exceeding the planet boundaries

What makes our present situation different is the accelerating pace of change:
- according a revision of the study of the Club of Rome: we are on track for a collapse of the resources and consequently demography, unless we change our path.
- and according to a study by the Stockolm Resilience Center, we are also exceeding the boundaries for sustainibility in several attributes.

Similarly, the WWF, in their 2016 report, presents an update on environmental challenges we are facing today.