Saturday 27 November, 5.00pm until 7.30pm, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Domstraße 10, D-60311, Frankfurt, Germany
Venue: MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Domstraße 10, D-60311, Frankfurt, Germany
Visionaries in the last century told us that by 2000 we would have successfully colonised the moon, robots would aid us in our everyday lives and our life expectancy would be beyond 100 years. As we enter the second decade of the new millennium, we are in a good position to reflect on how much has been achieved. Do factors like the elevation of the precautionary principle in science, the short-termist financialisation of business culture and the hostility that now exists to open-ended experimentation mean, in effect, that our society has lost faith in progress through science, technology and human ingenuity? Contemporary society shuns innovation while paying it lip-service. Nobody has been to the moon since 1972. In Germany, a social climate of fear and suspicion dominates every political debate about future technologies like genetic engineering. Far from showing an appetite for risk-taking, we are now calculating our carbon footprints. Robots do exist, but confined to factories rather than being part of everyday life. IT is everywhere, but has it really revolutionised our societies? We are heading towards a ‘Green Economy’, which is said to be far more progressive than one based on a supposedly antiquated faith in growth and progress. Our focus is now no longer on reaching for the stars or thinking big, it is not about making a mark; instead, it seems to be all about stealing away quietly into the night.
Previous waves of innovation, like the first and the second industrial revolutions, were international and advanced the living conditions of hundreds of million people. They coincided with major social, economic and political upheavals and new hopes in the possibility and necessity of progress. Why have we become so pessimistic about the pursuit of challenging objectives? Why does life now seem to just trundle along? What are the alternatives? Where is the new innovation wave of the 21st century?
This event will be attended by David Bowden, as a guest representative of the Battle of Ideas Organising Committee
|Dr Peter Heller|
technology consultant, Innovationszentrum Niedersachsen GmbH, Germany; co-editor, Science Skeptical blog
economics editor, NovoArgumente; consultant (logistics, production and organisation), German automotive industry
|Dr Norman Lewis|
director (innovation), PwC; co-author, Big Potatoes: the London manifesto for innovation
editor, NovoArgumente; author, Die Steinzeit steckt uns in den Knochen: gesundheit als erbe der evolution