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Cardiff Conference Explores The Future

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By: NMK Created on: July 11th, 2006
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Entrepreneurs, policy-makers, artists and academics from around the world gather in Cardiff this September to discuss the impact of technological change on future generations at the Future Matters conference...

Entrepreneurs, policy-makers, artists and academics from around the world gather in Cardiff this autumn to discuss the impact of technological change on future generations...

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Biotechnology, nanotechnology, nuclear energy and other sciences are developing so fast we are struggling to predict what kind of world they will create. Genetic advances create new dilemmas about 'designer babies', there are fears of nanorobots running out of control, while climate change could bring about mass human migrations and fresh conflicts.

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

Keynote speakers at the two-day conference include Josephine Green, director of trends and strategy at Dutch electronics giant Phillips, Jerome Binde, Director of Foresight, Philosophy and Human Sciences at Unesco, and Wendell Bell, futurist and Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Yale University.

Commercial, academic & artistic visions

Other events include a scenario game where the consequences of social and technological change are played out, and a film night of futuristic visions in world cinema. Gwyneth Lewis, National Poet of Wales and Welsh storyteller David Ambrose will make presentations on alternative ways of approaching the future.

Conference organiser Professor Barbara Adam, Professor of Sociology at Cardiff University said: "Societies are developing and investing in technological and scientific innovations that have ever longer-term consequences for human and non-human life. Such developments unleash futures that we cannot predict and set in motion processes that will affect untold 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 know their future consequences. This gap between knowing and doing creates a context for irresponsibility, in which all responsibility for what we cannot see in the present becomes a potential 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 how present policy shapes future events.

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

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

About Cardiff University:
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University's breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of Britain's leading research universities. Visit the University website at: www.cardiff.ac.uk

About Cardiff School of Social Sciences:
The School of Social Sciences encompasses teaching and research in social studies and education. Within social studies, the School has research interests in five main areas: criminology and criminal justice; health and medicine, knowledge and social change; modernity (time, risk, environment); and social welfare systems. Many of the staff are international experts in their fields. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, the School was awarded a Grade 5 Star rating for Education and a Grade 5 for Sociology, indicating research of international excellence.

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