Around The Institute: Exploring The Promise And Perils Of Tech

Technological advancement has allowed humanity to rise to great heights, though flying too close to the sun has its risks. But we can both be aware of the possible pitfalls of the future of technology while also recognizing incredible opportunities. Many Fellows of the Aspen Global Leadership Network have an eye for finding these opportunities. Exploring what's possible, while simultaneously considering the consequences, is the core aspect of topical dialogues at the 2017 Resnick Aspen Action Forum. To help prime the pump for discussion, here’s a round-up on resources and thought starters from around the institute and AGLN Fellows on the future of technology.
  • WHO ARE THEY: Aspen's Communications and Society Program seeks to encourage integrated, thoughtful, values-based decision making in the fields of communications, technology, and information policy.
  • HOT OFF THE PRESS: A six-chapter report from Aspen's Artificial Intelligence Roundtable examines the transformative nature of artificially intelligent technologies on our society, our economies, our governments, and our well-being. The report discusses topics like the perils and possibilities of driverless cars, nanotech in healthcare, the potential inequally distributed benefits of AI, and the inflection point of the near-future that could lead to either a utopian ideal or a dystopian catastrophe.
  • LET'S TALK ABOUT IT: Both the opportunities and consequences of near-future AI will be discussed in a topical dialogue at the Action Forum: "The Future of Technology: Just because we can, should we?"

  • WHO IS HE: Neil is a Henry Crown Fellow whose entrepreneurial skills placed him at the intersection of creativity, brand, and business strategy. Neil is the Founder and CEO of Habit, the first personalized nutrition company created for anyone who wants to be their best through the transformative power of food.
  • MAJOR IMPACT: Habit, Neil's Fellowship venture, provides clients with nutrition data based on their individual DNA and blood tests. By generating a personal nutrition profile, Habit is able to give clients the precise information they need to improve their diets and their overall health.
  • LET'S TALK ABOUT IT: Neil's venture seeks to give people a personal roadmap towards a healthier lifestyle via DNA analysis. Game-changing companies like his are the focal point of the topical dialogue "Businesses that will blow your mind."
  • WHO IS HE: Cody is a materials scientist and a Henry Crown Fellow. He created Zero Mass Water, a company that makes solar panels, which produce clean drinking water.
  • MAJOR IMPACT: This article by Business Insider touches on Zero Mass Water's goals for providing sustainable, clean drinking water around the world. His venture, Zero Mass Mobilized, aims to gather funding to build clean-water-producing solar panels in the developing world. By dramatically reducing the effort needed to get water in arid climes, and by equally dramatically reducing the threat of waterborne disease, Cody's venture is poised to make a monumental impact around the globe.
  • LET'S TALK ABOUT IT: Cody's venture revolves around technology that seems to pull clean water from thin air. The effects of revolutionary technology like this will be explored in the "Technology and Leadership Series" of topical dialogues at the Action Forum, including "Businesses that will blow your mind," for which Cody will be a discussant.

These are only a few of the Fellows and one of the programs at the Aspen Institute that are navigating the landscape of our brave new world. While developments in tech can present new challenges, new opportunities abound, and continue to be explored by Aspen Fellows and programs alike.

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Posted by Matthew Filbert on May 10, 2017 1:18 PM America/Denver