IntroductionExperts debate influence of CTs on science, society and democracy.
Converging Technologies (CT) refers to the coming together, or combination, of seemingly disparate scientific disciplines – such as life sciences, micro/nano engineering and information technology – to deliver novel products and approaches that might benefit individuals or society.
International scientists and social scientists with a particular interest in potential benefits and impacts of CTs are gathering at the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum on 27 and 28 September 2012 to discuss developing trends in convergence, such as new forms of databanking associated with commercial genetic-testing services. They will also consider how regulatory agencies can govern CTs and whether the predicted promise of CTs will actually translate into tangible benefits.
During the workshop, participants will explore the everyday technological convergences that are encountered in contemporary science and how these might be useful to society; how CTs might be producing changes in the nature of research and the use of applications relating to this; and how the societal use of technologies is governed.
Speaking as the workshop commenced, Director of the ESRC Genomics Forum, , said:
“Converging technologies are increasingly important, as inter-disciplinary crossovers develop between fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and IT. These convergences potentially offer considerable benefits, but it is equally important that we fully consider the wider impacts these might have upon social institutions and science itself.
By organising this workshop, the Genomics Forum is facilitating valuable dialogue between scientists and social scientists in order the promote the consideration of factors such as, for example, the way in which it may be necessary to develop mechanisms of governance for emerging forms of converging technologies.”
It is intended that the outputs from the workshop will be published as a book.