Multifaceted: Exploring Science &Tech
from Different Angles
The development of science and technology is not only about science and technology itself, but also covers the involvement of all aspects of society throughout the process. There are scientists who do the research, social managers who come up with the relevant policies, and companies who invest in it. At the same time, ethicists must think about the relationship between technology and humans. On February 25, the second THINC 2022-23 webinar explored these issues.
In the face of uncertainty in the post-pandemic era, how should we use technology to generate better development? Mike Liu (China), Vice President of and Senior Fellow with the Center for China & Globalization, who was invited to deliver the keynote speech, highlighted the importance of tech application.
As global issues such as climate change and aging come to the forefront, what should we do? Mike Liu believes one important point is the way in which technology can play a role. Technology can connect humans with social development as it can help solve these global social problems.
Simultaneously, the development and application of technology does not happen overnight - it requires the participation of multiple parties, from governments, research institutions, enterprises as well as individuals. During the webinar, current Tencent Reputation Management Executive Ge Lan (China) introduced the Tencent’s New Cornerstone Investigator Program, discussing how to promote technology development from a corporate dimension. Funded by Tencent, the program focuses on original innovation and encourages free exploration. It also has public interest attributes, which can support scientists to dive into basic research in a long-term and steady manner.
The project’s focus on young and female scientists also got a mention, and Lan expressed her outlook on how technology can contribute to business development.
During the panel discussion, THINC Fellows Gernot Schummermann (German), Xiaotian Liao (China) and Lim Vee Lun Clement (Singapore) shared their experiences of being involved in Science & Tech programs as well as the problems they have encountered.
For example, there is also a gap between the development and commercialization of technology. Gernot said that although his company’s rehabilitation technology has been developed successfully, he is still unable to bring the product to the market, given the regulatory and certification requirements for medical technology.
Gernot said that in the final stages of scientific research, research is only one part of the process. There are many other factors involved such as commercialization and industry regulation. Sometimes it's very frustrating when results don't make it to the ground due to regulation.
This requires these channels be bridged from the policy level. In another panel discussion, THINC Fellows Yushi Chen (China), Konstantin Tkachuk (Russia) and Eyitayo Alimi (Nigeria) discussed the difficulties of science and technology policy making.
Tkachuk noted that when developing a science and technology policy, there are many stakeholders coming in from different angles, with different demands and different needs. This is where the difficulty lies.
They all said policies should put people first and consider their needs. It is also important to holistically consider the risks posed by technology, such as how to protect data security.
They also believed the solutions still outnumber the difficulties. “Technology is used to serve humanity and we will eventually solve the problems we encounter,” was the common conclusion.