CCCR 2020 - Governing Science: Does it matter who is doing our scientific research and why?

Published on 11 December 2020

Governing Science: Does it matter who is doing our scientific research and why?

Our Final Century makes the case for scientists to take seriously the threat of global catastrophic risks, not only because we are well informed about these risks and how to respond to them but because, in many cases, we are responsible for the very research that is creating them.
Many kinds of scientific research, from atomic physics to computer science and biotechnology to high-energy experiments, are creating risks with the potential to impact on all of humanity. This therefore raises the pressing question of why this research is being done, who is doing it (and for whose benefit) and where does the buck stop on issues of safety and responsible development? For many scientists, questions such as these are little more than frustrating distractions from their vital research; yet just one mistake in a lab somewhere could have dire consequences for all of humanity.
How can we weigh up the competing demands of scientific progress and responsible innovation, and who should bear the burden of
making sure that mistakes never happen?

Stuart Parkinson: Do the current structures increase existential risks for society?

Stuart Parkinson is the Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, a UK based organisation of about 700 scientists, engineers and others, which researches and campaigns on the use and misuse of science and technology.

Heather Roff: Science Governance? Culture, Regime Type, and Distributed Control

Heather Roff is a Senior Research Analyst at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and an Associate Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence.

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