If they will not understand that we are bringing them a mathematically faultless happiness, our duty will be to force them to be happy.
– Yevgeny Zamyatin, WE
Dr. Mihail C. Roco Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation tells us that the convergence of knowledge and technology for the benefit of society is the core opportunity for progress in the 21st century, based on five principles:
- the interdependence of all components of nature and society,
- decision analysis for research and development based on system-logic deduction,
- enhancement of discovery, invention and innovation through evolutionary processes of convergence that combine existing principles and competencies, and divergence that generates new ones,
- higher-level cross-domain languages to generate new solutions and support transfer of new knowledge, and
- vision-inspired basic research embodied in grand challenges. It allows society to answer questions and resolve problems that isolated capabilities cannot, as well as to create new competencies, knowledge and technologies on this basis.
A book that will support this new progressive agenda tell us the convergence in knowledge, technology, and society is the accelerating, transformative interaction among seemingly distinct scientific disciplines, technologies, and communities to achieve mutual compatibility, synergism, and integration, and through this process to create added value for societal benefit. It is a movement that is recognized by scientists and thought leaders around the world as having the potential to provide far-reaching solutions to many of today’s complex knowledge, technology, and human development challenges. Four essential and interdependent convergence platforms of human activity are defined in the first part of this report: nanotechnology-biotechnology-information technology and cognitive science (“NBIC”) foundational tools; Earth-scale environmental systems; human-scale activities; and convergence methods for societal-scale activities. The report then presents the main implications of convergence for human physical potential, cognition and communication, productivity and societal outcomes, education and physical infrastructure, sustainability, and innovative and responsible governance. As a whole, the report presents a new model for convergence. To effectively take advantage of this potential, a proactive governance approach is suggested. The study identifies an international opportunity to develop and apply convergence for technological, economic, environmental, and societal benefits.