Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies (Starr Forum)

Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies (Starr Forum)

(Starr Forum)

October 17, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

book talk with Calestous Juma, MLK Visiting Professor and Scholars Program

Professor of the Practice of International Development
Director, Science, Technology, Globalization
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government

Book, Oxford University Press  July 2016

Author: Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa

Ordering Information for this publication

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Science, Technology, and Globalization; Science, Technology, and Public Policy

Innovation and Its Enemies:

Explains the roots of resistance to new technologies – and why such resistance is not always futile
Draws on nearly 600 years of economic history to show how the balance of winners and losers shapes technological controversies
Outlines policy strategies for inclusive innovation to reduce the risks and maximize the benefits of new technologies

The rise of artificial intelligence has rekindled a long-standing debate on the impact of technology on employment. This is just one of many areas where exponential advances in technology signal both hope and fear, leading to public controversy. This book shows that many debates over new technologies are framed in the context of risks to moral values, human health, and environmental safety. But it argues that behind these legitimate concerns often lie deeper, but unacknowledged, socioeconomic considerations. Technological tensions are often heightened by perceptions that the benefits of new technologies will accrue only to small sections of society while the risks will be more widely distributed. Similarly, innovations that threaten to alter cultural identities tend to generate intense social concern. As such, societies that exhibit great economic and political inequities are likely to experience heightened technological controversies.