Cardiff Conference Explores The Future

Entrepreneurs, policy-makers, artists and academics fromaround the world gather in Cardiff this autumn to discuss theimpact of technological change on future generations…

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Biotechnology, nanotechnology, nuclear energy and other sciencesare developing so fast we are struggling to predict what kind ofworld they will create. Genetic advances create new dilemmasabout 'designer babies', there are fears of nanorobotsrunning out of control, while climate change could bring aboutmass human migrations and fresh conflicts.

The Future Matters conference at CardiffUniversity, 4-6 September 2006 will look at the long-termimplications of decisions taken today in industrial societies.It will ask how can we better predict those consequences and howcan we take responsibility for the futures we create.

Keynote speakers at the two-day conference include JosephineGreen, director of trends and strategy at Dutch electronicsgiant Phillips, Jerome Binde, Director of Foresight, Philosophyand Human Sciences at Unesco, and Wendell Bell, futurist andEmeritus Professor of Sociology at Yale University.

Commercial, academic & artistic visions

Other events include a scenario game where the consequences ofsocial and technological change are played out, and a film nightof futuristic visions in world cinema. Gwyneth Lewis, NationalPoet of Wales and Welsh storyteller David Ambrose will makepresentations on alternative ways of approaching thefuture.

Conference organiser Professor Barbara Adam, Professor ofSociology at Cardiff University said: "Societies aredeveloping and investing in technological and scientificinnovations that have ever longer-term consequences for humanand non-human life. Such developments unleash futures that wecannot predict and set in motion processes that will affectuntold generations to come.

Taking responsibility for the future

"There is a chasm between what we do and what we can know;while we design and implement new technologies, we cannot knowtheir future consequences. This gap between knowing and doingcreates a context for irresponsibility, in which allresponsibility for what we cannot see in the present becomes apotential burden for future generations to bear."

The conference, held at the University's Glamorgan Building,has implications for politicians, business figures,environmental campaigners and anyone with an interest in howpresent policy shapes future events.

Places can be reserved with Deborah Watkins at Cardiff School ofSocial Sciences on 029 2087 4983 or by email at futures_conference_2006@cardiff.ac.uk

Further information on the Future Matters conference isavailable at:
http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/socsi/futures/conference/

About Cardiff University:
Cardiff University is recognised in independent governmentassessments as one of Britain's leading teaching andresearch universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, theUniversity today combines impressive modern facilities and adynamic approach to teaching and research. The University'sbreadth of expertise in research and research-led teachingencompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, lifeand social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation fora wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment tolifelong learning. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group ofBritain's leading research universities. Visit theUniversity website at: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk

About Cardiff School of Social Sciences:
The School of Social Sciences encompasses teaching and researchin social studies and education. Within social studies, theSchool has research interests in five main areas: criminologyand criminal justice; health and medicine, knowledge and socialchange; modernity (time, risk, environment); and social welfaresystems. Many of the staff are international experts in theirfields. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, theSchool was awarded a Grade 5 Star rating for Education and aGrade 5 for Sociology, indicating research of internationalexcellence.

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