Recherche, sciences, techniques

Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Freedoms versus Security

We have seen an upsurge in the numbers of - increasingly successful - social networks, an expansion of information processing techniques and increasing use by individuals of electronic means of communication and (particularly commercial) exchange. Are these things leading towards a world of generalized surveillance, in which private life could easily be violated by political authorities in the name of security or by economic forces for commercial ends? André-Yves Portnoff ponders these questions here, drawing on various recent events to show the extent to which the violation of private life is becoming easy today, if not indeed commonplace, with the establishment and use of personal databases. But at the same time he shows that developed societies remain very vigilant and that each time an abuse looms on the horizon, counter-powers emerge and enable protective measures to be taken.
Does the battle against crime (France, the Nordic countries) or terrorism (USA) justify large-scale telephone tapping and Internet surveillance? To what extent can we trade off respect for the constitutional state and freedom against security? To what extent are technological or legislative counter-measures available to preserve private life against commercial or political intrusion? André-Yves Portnoff looks at all these aspects and reminds us, in conclusion, that digital networks also represent an unprecedented instrument of power for citizens, enabling them to join together and promote the values they deem essential. To act in accordance with democratic values, not making concessions but remaining vigilant, remains the best way of preserving long-lasting security and freedom.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Society under Surveillance, an Academic Fear?

The rise and ever greater sophistication of information and communications technologies in recent decades offers modern societies some very ambivalent possibilities. These technologies have, for example, provided individuals with unrivalled capacities to contact and communicate with each other - and to do so almost instantaneously. On the other hand, they also afford unprecedented powers of oversight to those (public authorities or other powerful bodies) who would like to use them for that purpose. There is, as a result, a recurrent debate in France between those who take the view that we are moving towards an excess of surveillance and control in the style of the "Big Brother" of Orwell's novel 1984 and those who see these surveillance capacities as an opportunity for enhancing individual security. Which of these is really the case? Are we running a risk of generalized surveillance to the detriment of individual freedom? And if so, to what extent?
In Olivier Hassid's view, the cries of alarm from the "anti-Big Brother brigade" in France are, for the moment, highly exaggerated. Though there has been a major increase in violence in recent decades, this has not produced a development of corresponding proportions in the instruments of surveillance and control. Moreover, the existing surveillance technologies are far from capable of generalized surveillance of everyone's actions (on account of insufficient processing power, the "drowning" of data in the flood of information, and general complexity). Lastly, society itself does not seem to be calling for such an intensification of security, either public or private, since social relations still seem sufficiently robust to provide reassurance.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

The Automation of Speed Checks. New Technology and Traffic Policing

Since 2003 France has had an automated system of speed checks on its roads, mainly with the aim of improving road safety and thus reducing the cost, both human and economic, of road accidents. It is clear that this measure has played a major part in considerably reducing the number of deaths on French roads (fewer than 5,000 in 2007, whereas there were more than 10,000 in the late 1980s). The automation of speed checking perhaps also prefigures a variety of changes in traffic policing activities, and Laurent Carnis analyses these in this article.
After recapping the road safety issues to which this automation is a response, the author outlines current or planned developments in terms of the automatic monitoring/penalising of motorists. Drawing on various international comparisons (UK, Australia), he then shows what the next phases in this development might be: generalized automation of speed checks, of observance of traffic lights, of stopping distances etc., further increasing the extent of the surveillance of motorists. Similarly, argues Laurent Carnis, we may also see a "civilianizing" of road checks, with automation making it possible to subcontract all or part of such activity to civilian public servants or to private companies in various forms, which he outlines in detail. Lastly, other areas of road surveillance may also emerge or be intensified, such as enforcement of anti-pollution standards, protection of road infrastructures, policing of motorized crime etc., offering new operational opportunities for the traffic police.

Note de veille

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Le téléphone portable, porte-monnaie de demain ?

Alors que le succès de l'iPhone en France (plus de 600 000 téléphones vendus par Orange depuis sa sortie) confirme l'intérêt des utilisateurs pour l'Internet mobile, où en est le "portable porte-monnaie" ? Annoncé dès 2006 (1), ce "troisième âge" du téléphone portable promettait, grâce à la technologie NFC (Near Field Communication), un mobile multifonctions, à la fois titre de transport, carte bancaire, billet de concert, voire carte de santé. Pourtant, aujourd'hui, ces services ne sont toujours ...

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Analyse prospective

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Le livre numérique : une révolution ?

Dans quelle mesure le marché du livre numérique conditionne-t-il l'avenir de la lecture ? Les éditeurs eux-mêmes semblent avoir du mal à répondre à cette question et, surtout, la plupart d'entre eux se montrent pour l'instant réticents à investir massivement dans cette technologie pas comme les autres, qui remet tout de même en cause tout un pan de l'histoire et de la culture. Ainsi, répondant à un sondage réalisé en octobre 2008 lors de la dernière foire ...

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Futurs d'antan

Recherche, sciences, techniques

The Science and Industry of the Year 2000 (1894)

The modern world that emerged at the end of the 19th century had associated with it a highly optimistic vision of the progress that science and technology were to bring to humanity. The discoveries of organic chemistry made the synthesis of new products possible (dyes, medicines etc.), electricity supplies in towns and cities were bringing lighting and the beginnings of a certain comfort (at the time of the Paris Universal Exposition in 1900, electricity was seen as an animating sprite: "la fée électricité"), the automobile was making its appearance, and the telegraph and telephone were about to provide means of very long-distance communication. In the decades preceding the First World War, the development of education and universities in France would be a major aim of the Third Republic, with the aim of both consolidating Republican authority and remedying France's scientific backwardness by comparison with Germany.
This capacity of science and technology to promote human happiness was often a central theme at the Republican banquets so beloved of the Republic's leading personalities. The chemist Marcelin Berthelot, an academic widely recognized for his scientific work and an influential figure who combined the roles of scientist and politician - roles which, a few short years later, Max Weber would show to be guided by contrasting ethical imperatives - was no exception to this tradition. In this address on the subject of the year 2000, which he delivered at the banquet of the French Employers' Federation for the Chemical Industries in 1894, Berthelot engaged in a brief foresight exercise. He speaks of his faith in a future that was being fashioned by the discoveries of science - and, in particular, of chemistry - and by "the alliance between science and industry" (this is a theme that will be heard once again, in virtually the same tones, more than a century later) - an alliance which was largely realized in Germany at the time, as is often forgotten. This speech, as can be seen here, is a genuine programme for the future, couched in highly optimistic terms.

Forum

Recherche, sciences, techniques

The Car Revolution Still in the Future

Large swathes of the French economy have been slow to carry out the kind of restructuring that has been shown, in recent decades, to be essential. As has already been mentioned in this publication, the economic and financial crisis that has afflicted the world for almost a year now could well have the beneficial effect of forcing reform upon them. Of the sectors potentially concerned, the foremost is probably that of car production. As Michel Drancourt indicates here, things are, as yet, at an early stage, but the car is about to undergo a veritable revolution which the current manufacturers cannot resist for much longer. Moreover, it is a revolution not all of them will survive.
After reminding us of the current context in which the sector operates, the way the main actors are positioned within it and the market conditions and prospects, Michel Drancourt stresses how essential it has become to implement a massive redevelopment of the industry if it is to move forward and address its future technical, ecological and commercial challenges.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

What Future for the Electric Car?

The "conventional" car industry is in crisis. This is not a recent phenomenon, but the current economic crisis has taken it to new levels. We may add to this the bad press that fossil fuels are receiving in a context where oil is becoming scarcer and greenhouse gas emissions are being combated. Does this offer brighter prospects for the development of electric cars, which are far from new as a concept, but have not so far succeeded in achieving commercial take-off?
Noting the recent increase in the number of new electric models, Pierre Bonnaure has turned his attention to this question. In this article he outlines the current state of this sector: the excitement around the concept and the technological options and limitations? He stresses, above all, that the market for all-electric vehicles should be confined to small urban models, and only then if the performance and lifespan of the new batteries turn out to match the claims made for them, if the authorities support the initiative, and if recharge electricity is not subject to tax. In such a context, the situation seems more conducive to the development of hybrid vehicles, whose features are also described here.
Lastly, above and beyond the technical aspects, Pierre Bonnaure reminds us how the electric vehicles market is dependent on much wider developments (industrial production of batteries and recycling, establishment of a network of recharge/repair stations, development of the electrical grid to meet the additional demand for power etc.) - dependent, in short, on a systemic revolution that is far from having begun.

Analyse prospective

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Biocarburants : perspectives scientifiques

La nécessité de trouver une alternative aux carburants dérivés du pétrole pour le transport a conduit à accorder une place de choix aux biocarburants. Les biocarburants produits à partir de la biomasse ont, a priori, deux avantages : la matière première de base est renouvelable ; leur impact climatique est faible puis qu'ils "recyclent" du gaz carbonique (CO2) capté dans l'atmosphère et fixé par les végétaux. De fait, dans un grand nombre de pays, les gouvernements ont pris des mesures ...

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Bibliography

Éducation - Recherche, sciences, techniques

« La préparation de l’avenir »

La crise économique et financière actuelle, quelles que soient son ampleur et sa durée, ne doit pas détourner la France de la « préparation de l’avenir », indique Eric de la Maisonneuve en guise de préface à ce numéro de la revue Agir. D’où l’importance des articles regroupés ici selon trois grands enjeux : la formation des élites, la recherche et l’innovation. Dans le domaine de la formation des élites, les articles proposés tentent de comprendre les origines du ...

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Futuribles

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Bibliographie prospective n°68

La Bibliographie prospective du mois de février 2009 consacre son Focus au rapport du CAS (Centre d'analyse stratégique) sur le véhicule particulier "grand public" à l'horizon 2030. Ce rapport, axé sur les enjeux énergétiques et climatiques de l'automobile, passe en revue les perspectives technologiques des différents types de véhicules (thermique, électrique, hybride, à gaz) et les innovations permettant de diminuer leur consommation d'énergie. Vous trouverez par ailleurs, et comme chaque mois, une sélection de comptes rendus ...

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Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques

La Société et l’économie à l’aune de la révolution numérique. Enjeux et perspectives des prochaines décennies (2015 / 2025)

L?économie numérique constitue un domaine très jeune, mais déjà très complexe, car il concerne un grand nombre de disciplines : économie, technologies, sciences sociales? De plus, l?économie numérique se caractérise par la rapidité de ses évolutions, qui complique toute tentative de prévision mais confère une vraie utilité aux exercices de prospective menés sur ce sujet. D?où l?intérêt de la réflexion menée par la commission Économie numérique, présidée par Alain Bravo, et dont le CAS publie ici les ...

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Bibliography

Géopolitique - Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

China’s Green Revolution. Prioritizing Technologies to Achieve Energy and Environmental Sustainability

L’institut McKinsey, qui s’intéresse de plus en plus aux solutions permettant de diminuer les émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES) de la planète, étudie ici le cas de la Chine. Quelque 200 mesures ont été étudiées, avec une attention particulière dans cinq secteurs : les bâtiments résidentiels et commerciaux, le transport, les émissions de CO2 des industries lourdes, la production d’électricité, l’agriculture et la foresterie. Le potentiel maximum de réduction d’émissions de CO2 a ...

(535 more words)

Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques

A Roadmap for US Robotics. From Internet to Robotics

Pour réaliser ce rapport, un groupe de travail composé de 140 experts, universitaires et industriels, ont été réunis afin envisager l’évolution de la robotique, en particulier aux États-Unis, à l’horizon 2025. Depuis quelques années, le secteur de la robotique a connu un développement très rapide de ses technologies et de ses applications, dans l’industrie, la logistique, la santé... L’Asie est aujourd’hui le premier investisseur mondial dans la recherche en robotique (un milliard de dollars pour ...

(304 more words)

Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques

The Bioeconomy to 2030 : Designing a Policy Agenda

Les biotechnologies, qui développent les applications des découvertes de la biologie et de la génétique, sont souvent considérées comme le vecteur d?une nouvelle « révolution technologique ». Les applications des biotechnologies englobent les domaines de la santé, de la production agricole et des procédés industriels (notamment en chimie) et leurs implications institutionnelles, politiques et éthiques sont nombreuses. C?est ce champ qui constitue la « bioéconomie » dont l?OCDE examine les perspectives à l?horizon 2030. En 2005, la biotechnologie, au sens ...

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Chapitre recherche, sciences...

Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.