Issues: Emerging technologies

Emerging technologies

SGR produces a range of resources on the issue of 'Emerging technologies'. This covers a wide range of new and controversial technologies such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, climate/ geo-engineering, genetically-modified organisms and synthetic biology, and nanotechnologies. An explicit concern is the adequate application of the precautionary principle, and the possible alternatives to emerging technologies, including 'appropriate' technology and non-technological solutions such economic, political or social change.

Prof Andrew Watterson, University of Stirling, assesses key academic research published in 2016 on the risks of fracking to public health.

22 November 2016

Are computers a biotechnology? One place from which the future of computing and robotics technologies is being thought about is a bit unexpected – the neuroscience lab. Over the past three years, a number of large research initiatives have been announced.

1 September 2016

 

Philip Chapman investigates the potential environmental impacts should space tourism recover from its recent setbacks and become a thriving global industry.

23 February 2016

Researchers in AI and robotics have called for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons, loosely termed 'killer robots'. Prof Lucy Suchman, Lancaster University, explains why she added her name to the call.

17 September 2015

In the wake of the Virgin Galactic crash, Philip Chapman investigates the potential environmental impacts should space tourism recover from its recent setbacks and become a thriving global industry.

27 June 2015

 

With a new government in power and a new international call for action on energy research from the Global Apollo Programme, Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, assesses whether the U's energy R&D is heading in the right direction. One question, in particular, is whether nuclear R&D or renewables R&D should be prioritised.

ResponsibleSci blog, 3 June 2015
 

 

Presentation by Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, to local councillors in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK

Published online: 20 April 2015.

 

Gwen Harrison MSc and Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, summarise SGR's recent briefing which finds numerous causes for concern regarding the planned extraction of shale gas in the UK.

Article from SGR Newsletter no.43; online publication 3 March 2015.

 

Dr Eva Novotny discusses the controversy surrounding an academic paper showing health problems in a feeding trial of a GM crop – and what it says about corporate influence in this field.

Article from SGR Newsletter no.43 (advance publication), 24 October 2014

Updates added: 26 February 2015; 9 July 2018

 

Examining the evidence

This report, published by Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), critically reviews current evidence across a number of issues associated with shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). These include environmental and public health aspects, and socio-economic considerations. The report raises a number of important concerns, especially regarding regulation of the industry and problems related to climate change.

Following subsequent criticism by some supporters of fracking, we have also produced a rebuttal of their main points.

21 July 2014 (updated 14 August 2014)