The rapid march of technological change
Emerging science domains, such as synthetic biology, precision health, new energy technologies, robotics and artificial intelligence among others, have the potential to generate significant societal benefits and commercial opportunities. But transformational research like this can also produce disruptive technologies and precipitate societal change and uncertainty. This can raise significant social and ethical challenges for societies and their decision-makers.
If left unresolved, these challenges can hinder the progress and innovation required for this science to deliver benefits to society and to future generations.
Understanding science and technology in society
Responsible innovation is a way of addressing those challenges with a view to ensuring socially and ethically responsible science and technology is designed and delivered for the benefit of all Australians.
We have established the Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform (RI FSP) to examine the relationships between disruptive and emerging technologies and society.
The RI FSP is a six-year, $7.85 million investment in our collective future that will bring leading researchers and scientists from across the nation's innovation system to further our understanding of the challenges for society that are emerging from the development of these new areas of science.
This program of research assesses the potential risks, benefits and uncertainties of future science and technology across three core focus areas:
- Digital emerging technologies
- Environmental-scale interventions
- Socially responsive genetic technologies.
Funding is also being used to establish key research collaborations across Australia's innovation system, to develop and deliver this research capability.
Through our collaborations with The University of Queensland, The Australian National University and Charles Darwin University, we have jointly invested an initial $6.5 million in responsible innovation to examine emerging science including synthetic biology, precision health, hydrogen and artificial intelligence, and will expand to other areas of innovation as they arise.