From: Tommy Jonsson [[log in to unmask]]
(pls forward to your friends)
Internet Dialogue on ”What if...?”
September 1st - October 31st 2004.
Every autumn since 2000 a ”Biopolicy Seminar” has taken place
alternatively under the auspices of the Engineering Sciences Division of
the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA) or the Biotechnology
Division of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA).
Initiated by the Biofocus Foundation (www.biofocus.org) of the World
Academy of Art and Science (www.worldacademy.org) the themes have had
their roots in biotechnology but with transdisciplinary outlooks via a
network of networks. The overall aim has been to explore how farsighted
technology assessment can stimulate innovative technology transfer
efforts, as well as social innovations supporting them. With this in
mind both the coming 2004 event (”Social Innovations for Development - a
Case for Biopolicy”- KVA, Oct.27) and the 2005 conference (”Engineering
for Global Health – Demographic Aspects”- IVA Sept.22nd) have a
”learning-thrust” and are preceeded by preparatory ”What if...?”
Internet dialogues. Both will emphasize the potential of large
goal-oriented networks and of !”Cafe”-type meetings as a means to
stimulate creativity. The 2005-dialogue will have a broader engineering
scope and its planning will draw on the experience gained in 2004. It
will probably be concluded at two interlinked sessions in Sweden and in
Japan in conjunction with the World Exhibition (Nagoya 2005).
The Internet Dialogue on ”What If...?” is a web-forum and has 3 main
(a) Discussion of !”What If..?” questions and statements (Sept to Oct
(b) Discussion of abstracts relevant to the "What If---?" theme from the
3rd Science Generation Symposium "Biotechnology: Possibilities, Risks,
Ethics, and Society (Sept 2004)
(c) Discussion of abstracts relevant to the "What If---?" theme from the
Biopolicy Seminar on "Social Innovations for Development : A case for
Biopolicy" http://www.biofocus.org/inpipeline.htm (Oct 2004)
Call for ”What If… ?” Questions
The Internet Dialogue calls for ”What If...?” questions (max 5 lines)
with an introductory brief statement (max 40 lines) about threats and
opportunities that can be expected from developments in biotechnology
and genetic engineering, and that have a magnitude and global reach
which merits thoughts about anticipatory social innovations. One aim is
to explore how the crossfertilization between biology and information
technology has opened new opportunities for worldwide transdisciplinary
cooperation and as well as various challenges to personal integrity and
Please send your contribution(s) to Mr Tommy Jonsson ([log in to unmask]).
All contributors will be automatically added as a participant. Your
statements will be open for debate during the webforum in September and
October. The Dialogue will be forward-looking but will exclude questions
like: ”What if the efforts to assassinate Hitler had succeeded ? ”, or
”What if Fleming had not discovered penicillin ? ”. They should also
avoid being caught in the trap of human reproductive biology. Typical
questions (see examples below) and their statements can be found in
1) What if the existing stock of !an effective vaccine against a serious
new influenza pandemic is enough for only 25 % of the population?
2) What if there is a great benefit to be reaped by inoculating newborne
babies at birth with a mixture of lactobacilli and enteric bacteria?
3) What if toxic volatiles adsorbed on nano-size carbon particles prove
to be a major health hazard?
4) What If terrorists target!the meat-and diary industry with
Selected statements and their debates will be summarized and elaborated
by participants of a special session at KVA in Stockholm on Sept.27th. !
Prof. Carl-Goran Heden
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Chairman of Organizing Committee
Mr. Jacky E.L. Foo
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