There’s no scientific impediment - even with present knowledge - to achieving a sustainable world in this century. We live under the shadow of new hazards - but these can be minimized by reprioritizing the thrust of the world’s technological effort - and optimizing the educational system and the institutions where research is done.
Astronomer Royal Martin Rees has spent a lifetime exploring science’s most profound questions, and advocating for its place in our common culture, at the heart of our democracy and decision-making.
At the RSA, he insists that we can be technological optimists, despite the pessimism engendered by intractable politics and sociology. Environmental degradation, unchecked climate change, and unintended consequences of advanced technology could trigger serious, even catastrophic, setbacks to our society, he warns – and our world is so interconnected that a collapse - societal or ecological - would be a truly global catastrophe. So it’s ever more crucial to ensure that science is deployed optimally, and that brakes are applied to applications that are dangerous or unethical.
Scientists have a special obligation to promote beneficial applications of their researches, and to warn against the downsides. But priorities in how their work is applied are matters for the wider public - so it’s crucial that the education system should offer everyone enough 'feel' for science to permit an informed debate on its ethics and hazards.
Join one of our most eminent and far-seeing scientists to explore the future of scientific endeavour at a time when innovation must be guided by values science alone cannot provide. The stakes have never been higher.
*Please note this event will be shown at RSA House and Online - please ensure to register for the correct ticket type to avoid disappointment*