Le coût social de la science

Photo par Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography photostream. 14298-Children's learning center technology-4988.jpg. CC. https://flic.kr/p/nUTtKa

Photo par Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography photostream. 14298-Children’s learning center technology-4988.jpg. CC. https://flic.kr/p/nUTtKa

 

(Click here for the English version of this article)

En tant qu’une étudiante de journalisme passionnée par la science, je suis constamment étonnée par les avances technologiques. Pendant mon vivant on a passé des disquettes à l’informatique en nuage.

Mais le 7 mai j’ai assisté à une conférence sur les difficultés avec la technologie émergente. Les points faits par Marc Saner, le directeur sortant de l’Institut de recherche sur la science, la société et la politique publique à l’Université d’Ottawa, m’avaient faire pensée de ces avances d’une façon plus critique.

1. Les investissements dans la science ne donnent pas toujours de la richesse

Il y a des gouvernements qui pensent que les investissements dans la recherche et l’innovation vont mener à des services et produits qui vont enrichir leur pays. Mais ce n’est pas toujours le cas. Des fois une nouvelle technologie est arrêtée à cause des chinoiseries administratives, un manque des fonds ou un manque de soutien de la population.

2. Recherche les effets sociaux, légaux et éthiques d’une nouvelle technologie tôt dans son développement

Identifier qui va bénéficier et qui vont payer le prix. Les technologies ont souvent des effets inattendus, mais des études d’avances peuvent aider la société à s’adapter.

3. N’essaye pas de parler de tout un domaine de technologie. Limite le champ.

On ne dit rien de précis quand on parle de tous les OGM ou tous les téléphones intelligents. Selon Saner, parler de tout un domaine est comme dire que ‘le plastic est mauvais.’ Concentre sur les avantages et désavantages d’un produit spécifique à la place, comme les pommes qui ne s’oxydent pas au lieu de tous les OGM.

Considering the social cost of science

Photo by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography photostream. 14298-Children's learning center technology-4988.jpg. CC. https://flic.kr/p/nUTtKa

It’s hard to guess what the legal and social consequences of a technology will be while it’s being developed. Marc Saner of the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy proposed researching any possible effects early on. Photo by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography photostream. 14298-Children’s learning center technology-4988.jpg. CC. https://flic.kr/p/nUTtKa

 

As a journalism student who’s passionate about science, I’m constantly amazed by the technological advances that have happened just in my lifetime, from floppy disks to cloud computing. I can’t help but get excited about all the new solutions researchers are working towards.

But at a May 7 talk on the troubles with emerging technology, the outgoing Director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa, Marc Saner, made some interesting points that made me think more critically about these advances:

1. Investments in science do not always lead to fame and fortune

Governments have this idea that investing in research and innovation will one day lead to money-making products and services. However, some technologies get tied up in red tape, run out of money or fail to win public approval.

2. Research the social, legal and ethical effects of the new technology early on

Looking at who benefits and who pays the price of a new technology can help society adapt to its often unpredictable effects.

3. Don’t try to talk about an entire field, narrow the scope

It’s hard to say anything accurate about all GMOs or all smartphones. Saner compared this to saying “Plastic is bad.” Stick to discussing the risks and benefits of specific products, such as non-browning apples.

Unrelated to the subject of the talk, I learned that if you identify yourself as a journalism student during the Q&A session, researchers and regulators will seek you out afterwards to tell you about their research and the importance of having journalists who can talk about science accurately. All it takes is one intelligent question, and the stories come to you. Definitely a good technique to keep in my back pocket.

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