Archive for the ‘Slate’ tag

Want to Help Shape the Future? Get Involved With Science—No Ph.D. Required. (Slate.com)

By September 6th, 2017 at 9:24 am | Comment

Here’s an excerpt from a piece I coauthored with Jay Lloyd, my colleague at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

D. CAVALIER & J. LLOYD
Want to Help Shape the Future? Get Involved With Science—No Ph.D. Required.

Imagining what the world will be like in a decade or two can feel like flipping through a catalog of dystopian visions rooted in today’s dismaying headlines. Will smartphones make our children depressed and lonely? Are we on the brink of making the world nearly uninhabitable for humans? Will hacking and cyberterrorism lead to real-world warfare? Can bioterrorists use precision gene-editing to kill millions of people? Will technological innovations produce mass unemployment?

That many of these anxieties are connected to scientific advances and technological breakthroughs is no coincidence. The forces of science and technology that drive large parts of today’s economy catalyze vast social changes. Innovations emerge from corporations, universities, and laboratories that are remote from most people’s everyday experiences. Understanding them often requires specialized knowledge and training. And while these innovations can be enormously beneficial, they often come with tradeoffs. For example, social media platforms offer greater connectedness, but they can also allow information to be weaponized as a tool of asymmetric warfare.

 It can sometimes feel like professional researchers and technologists are pushing us into a future that may not be one we envision for ourselves and our communities. Technological innovation can feel more like a natural disaster than the result of human decisions if youstruggle to make a living or deal with toxic electronics waste. We fear losing control, ceding our agency to algorithms and tech companies and research scientists.
One way to help alleviate some of the concerns is greater public involvement in scientific research and technological innovation—no Ph.D. required.  Read the full article here.

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Citizen Science Isn’t Just About Collecting Data

By August 16th, 2016 at 11:19 am | Comment

Nonscientists should take part in discussions about research priorities and more.
This article, Citizen Science Isn’t Just About Collecting Data, originally appeared in Slate AUG. 15 2016 7:31 AM
The earthquake near Washington, D.C., five years ago in August 2011—the one that damaged the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral but had little other noticeable impact—caught me by surprise. Sitting in an office on the 12th floor of a building downtown, I thought it might have been an improbably large truck on the street below, until a co-worker suggested we probably ought to leave the building. We spent the rest of that sunny afternoon milling around with other office workers before calling it a day and heading to happy hour.

What I did not do, but really wish that I had, was enter a description of my experience into the U.S. Geological Survey’s crowdsourcing initiative, Did You Feel It? The system collects data from people who have felt tremors to determine the extent and intensity of earthquakes in near-real time. The submitted data are used in the USGS ShakeMaps, which help organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency prepare for and respond to earthquakes.
Read the full article here.

Categories: In the News

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