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Prospectic: new Technologies, new Thoughts

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Who is able to understrand and manage the diverse technological choices we face?

Nowadays, not only can we have a significant impact on ourselves and our surroundings, but we have also gained the power to destroy our ecological niche, and even potentially all of mankind.

Many innovations are going to blend into our lives or our bodies. Areas such as NBIC (nanotechnology, biotechnology, information and cognition) open a wide range of possibilities, yet raise many questions. And then there are materials appearing that alter their properties according to the environment, nano-factories, direct interfaces between the brain and computers, robots who eat to gain energy, real-time observation of the human brain...

We are helpless before a collective inability to make choices of historic proportions, and effectively apply them. How can we mobilize collective intelligence to confront these major challenges? It has become vital to raise a debate involving key societal players: researchers, politicians, industrialists and citizens.

Prospectic offers an overview of current worldwide research. It provides a general explanation of the latest technological advances, and highlights concrete applications that will have a major impact on our daily lives.

We must urgently raise ethical issues alongside the development of new sciences and technologies. Reading Prospectic places you squarely in the debate regarding the consequences of new technologies on our lives.

This Book was produced from the Prospectic program of FING (Next Generation Internet Foundation).

For over twenty years, author and scientist Jean-Michel Cornu has been working as an international consultant and European expert in the fields of New Technologies and the Information Society. He is currently the Chief Scientist of FING.


Table of contents

  • Chapter 1 - Introduction: What’s next?
    • In search of magical relics
    • Technologies that invent tomorrow
  • Chapter 2 – Basic nanosciences and nanotechnologies
    • Understanding nanosciences and nanotechnologies
    • Nanoelectronic and spintronic
    • Passive nanostructures
    • Active nanostructures
    • Assembling nanosystems
    • Molecular & atomic nanosystems
    • Self-replicative nanosystems
    • Strategies for nanoscience and nanotechnology
  • Chapter 3 – The first key – Interdisciplinarity and modes of explanation
    • Why is it difficult to do multidisciplinary science?
  • Chapter 4 – Basic Biology and Biotechnologies
    • Life, a very old new technology
    • First process – the plasma membrane: splitting to create
    • Second process – proteins: from one-dimensional information to a three-dimensional object
    • Third process – nucleic acids: how to replicate oneself?
    • Fourth process – "sculpting" life
    • Fifth Process – articulations on different scales
    • Strategies for biotechnologies
  • Chapter 5 – The second key – Complexity
  • Chapter 6 – Basic IT and communication technology
    • Basic technologies
    • Process
    • Communication
    • Memory
    • Human-machine-environment interfaces
    • Robots and smart communicating objects
    • Software
    • Strategies for information and communication technology
  • Chapter 7 – The third key – Energy
    • The insatiable need for energy
    • Innovate to save or produce energy
    • Local energy for autonomous equipment
  • Chapter 8 – Basic Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
    • Understanding man and his brain: observation or simulation?
    • Neuroscience
    • Cognition, Cognitive Science and Cognitivism
    • Strategies for neuroscience and cognitive science
  • Chapter 9 – The fourth key – Modes of Thought and Conflicts of Interest
    • Can we escape the power struggle?
    • Language: source of intelligence and conflict
    • 2nd Thoughts and conflicts of interest
    • Mind mapping
    • New Thought ?
  • Chapter 10 – Crossroads: convergence and ethics
    • It there a convergence of sciences?
    • Converging Technologies.. What for?
    • Convergence of ethical questions
  • Conclusion – The dawn of the cartographers

Le livre Prospectic, nouvelles technologies, nouvelles pensées (FYP éditions 2008)


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