Could a Virtual Community Help Save the Planet? Using New Media to Bridge the Performance Gap in International Science and Technology

It is hardly news that the world is beset by a bewildering array of complex and difficult challenges, ranging from how best to manage the global commons, to diminishing biodiversity, to resource scarcity. Most of these pressing issues have a major scientific and technological (S&T) component, both in terms of generating the problems and in the search for solutions.

In the age of globalization, S&T cuts all ways. That much is clear. Yet at a time when humanity’s needs have never been greater, our collective capacity to innovate, to organize and to cooperate internationally in response seems grossly inadequate. Whether the subject is climate change, weapons of mass destruction, pandemic disease or ecosystems collapse, across a wide spectrum of unaddressed threats we seem to be approaching a tipping point beyond which recovery may be impossible.

Not least because the risks of failure are catastrophic, the arguments favouring efforts to improve performance are compelling.

But that’s an inconvenient truth, and neither governments nor markets are listening.

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