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May 24th, 2018 by: Cian O'DonovanJohan Schot

Crafting Stories of Technology and Progress: Five Considerations

A story, to triumph, must seize our imaginations. A story about technology’s role in social progress is no exception. Its characters must invoke love and hate. Its beginning must establish urgency; its middle twists and turns; and at its end, there must be resolution—though perhaps the best stories reserve space for sequels and future chapters…

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May 24th, 2018 by: Andy StirlingCian O'DonovanBecky Ayre

Which way? Who Says? Why? Questions on the Multiple Directions of Social Progress

For better or worse, science and technology are both deeply entangled in “social progress”. This is the case equally in discourse and practise around the world. In areas such as health, wealth, energy, mobility, and communications, it is widely recognized that remarkable historical improvements— at least for some— all owe much to science and technology.…

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May 24th, 2018 by: Judith Sutz

Health Inequalities in the Global South: Transforming Inspiring Stories into Effective Policies

Inequality is usually considered in economic terms, but is, in fact, a much broader social situation. Income inequality does lead to different types of inequality, particularly in the fulfillment of basic needs, but other forms of deprivation exist that cannot be deduced from economic origins.  The Economy Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen has insisted in…

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May 24th, 2018 by: Suzanne Moon

Social Progress in a Technoreligious World

What is the place of religion in work for social progress? This question often produces widely divergent responses, with some seeing religion mainly as a source of conflict in societies, and others pointing to the role of religious people and communities in important work for peace, and social welfare. The truth is that there is…

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May 15th, 2018 by: Helga NowotnyJohan Schot

It could be otherwise: social progress, technology and the social sciences

The idea of social progress and the origins of modern science and technology are inextricably intertwined. Indeed, it was this idea that kept the entire enterprise of modern science and technology going. Reinforced by the actual scientific and technological practices, this belief became the open-ended, future-oriented project that was shared among a minority of (then…

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March 12th, 2018 by: Kira Lussier

From the Intuitive Human to the Intuitive Computer

In an early scene of Her, Spike Jonze’s 2013 romantic science fiction film, the protagonist, Theodore, purchases a new operating system marketed as a revolution in personalized computing. After setting up the operating system, Theodore asks its surprisingly personable female voice (played by the unseen Scarlett Johansson): “what makes you work?” The operating system, who…

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