Review: Managing Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno Innovations: Converging Technologies in Society

5 Star, Change & Innovation, Information Society, Information Technology
Amazon Page

William Sims Bainbridge (Editor) and Mihail C. Roco

5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of Its Time, Still a Major Contribution, Needs a Second Volume, October 13, 2012

This is a truly extraordinary book, one I stumbled across as I was browsing the web for “the right stuff.” Whereas most authors and endeavors persist in doing what Dr. Russell Ackoff describes as “doing the wrong thing righter,” this is a book on the bleeding edge of what he and I both favor, “doing the right thing.”

What really surprised me about this book is the rich cultural and ethical spirit that has been integrated into each contribution (19 chapters, many with multiple authors). I am also surprised by the conclusion, chapter 19, “Coevolution of Social Science and Emerging Technologies,” which explicitly recognizes that the social sciences are severely retarded in relation to both the challenges facing us and the capacity of emerging technologies to address those challenges. This is a view I have held for some time, and if there ever were an Open Source Agency (OSA) as a sister agency to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and as an Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) provider to Whole of Government decision-making and Smart Nation depth and breadth, two of that agencies priorities would address the urgency of re-integrating all of the academic disciplines, and accelerating the maturation of the social sciences, while also applying the new meme of “Open Source Everything” to every one of the technologies addressed in this book.

There is only one small gap in this book, one that I have addressed in my own books, inspired by Dr. Herman Daly’s pioneering as well as by Buckminster Fuller and many others: this is a technical book, not an information book. It provides a sensational overview of the four core technologies that are converging, and of their potential to both change society and governance and economics as well as to address high-level threats to humanity beginning with poverty, but it does not address true cost information or how we can create the World Brain and Global Game, something the Earth Intelligence Network has focused on since 2006. Ephemeralism, a word used by Buckminster Fuller to describe the substitution of information for time, space, labor, capital, and materials, requires BOTH information technologies, AND information processed into intelligence (decision-support).

The time has come for a follow-on to this book, and I certainly hope the new edition will address the intersection of the four core technologies with the ten high level threats to humanity and the twelve core policies identified by the Earth Intelligence Network, and also be most relevant and meritorious of translation for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Wild Cards such as the Congo, Nigeria, and Turkey.

The book is free online as a PDF, having been produced as part of a US Government / National Science Foundation endeavor, just search for the full title and PDF. Of course I do recommend the printed hard-copy for libraries and for sharing.

By the two editors (one each):

The Sociology of Religious Movements
Nanotechnology Research Directions for Societal Needs in 2020: Retrospective and Outlook (Science Policy Reports)

Also recommended:

The Exemplar: The Exemplary Performer in the Age of Productivity
Critical Path
World brain
Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition
Ecological Economics, Second Edition: Principles and Applications
For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future
High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them
A More Secure World : Our Shared Responsibilty; A Report of the United Nations High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change

Robert David Steele
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability (2010)

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