Recherche, sciences, techniques
Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
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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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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Cette journée était simultanément un hommage et un débat. Elle a donné lieu à la publication de deux articles dans la revue Futuribles : "Hommage à Jean-Jacques Salomon", par André Lebeau dans le numéro de mars 2008 "Science, technologie et theatrum belli", par Geneviève Schméder dans le numéro de février 2009
Much ink is still to flow on the financial crisis of autumn 2008. It is difficult as yet to evaluate the extent of the damage and if we do venture some mid- or long-term forecasts in the pages of Futuribles, we do so only with the utmost caution. It seems, in fact, to have become virtually impossible to determine how things are going to develop in the financial sphere, since the players have lost all confidence in each other and, despite intervention on an unprecedented scale, the powers that be are finding it difficult to restore trust.
Analysts have remained cautious even on the deep causes of this crisis, given that those in the world of finance themselves still find it hard to understand how matters raced so far out of their control. Is mathematical modelling, which is a key element in the operation of global financial markets, in some way to blame for the current parlous situation, and, if so, to what extent? Pierre Papon inquires here into the significant role played by that modelling, demonstrating, in substance, that mathematical tools are undoubtedly very useful in the financial field, but that they have to be regularly submitted to both theoretical and practical testing.
La Chine suscite à la fois intérêt et interrogations : considérée comme l'usine de la planète, les pays développés redoutent qu'elle les concurrence sur le terrain de la technologie. Cela rend d'autant plus intéressant la lecture du rapport que l'OCDE a consacré à la politique d'innovation en Chine.
Fluctuations in the price of the standard barrel of oil have been making headlines for several years now. In remaining at a high level in 2008 (with a peak of 150 US dollars in July), it seems to have left a marked impression on consumers, sensitizing them to the ever more imminent advent of a new energy era. Unless there is something approaching a technical revolution in this field, there is a danger that the increasing scarcity of fossil resources will appreciably raise energy costs and changed consumer habits will ensue.
Is the prospect of such a revolution plausible? Can there be scientific and technical breakthroughs in the coming years that produce improvements or new paths in energy production? Pierre Papon has examined this question. After briefly summing up the current energy situation (in a context, we should remember, of climate change), he offers a detailed overview of the various options for the exploration and use of fossil fuels, bio-fuels, hydrogen etc. He also demonstrates the potential and limits of renewables, together with the prospects for the nuclear industry. In all these fields there seems little hope of a revolution before 2030: adaptation to a context of growing scarcity of energy supplies remains, then, a pressing question. However, as Pierre Papon reminds us, we cannot rule out the emergence of a new paradigm in physics that could radically alter the situation (such as occurred, for example, with the theory of relativity); hence the indispensable research effort that must be put in by both scientists and funders.
La Bibliographie prospective du mois de novembre 2008 consacre son Focus à un rapport publié par l'OCDE sur la politique d'innovation en Chine : Reviews of Innovation Policy: China. Le bilan des réformes apparaît très contrasté : le développement de l'enseignement supérieur étant encore insuffisant et l'importante hausse des dépenses en R&D pas toujours judicieusement attribuée, bien des défis restent encore à relever. Vous trouverez par ailleurs, et comme chaque mois, une sélection de comptes rendus de livres ...
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L'Internet 2.0 offrirait, on le sait, des possibilités quasi illimitées en termes de relations sociales, d'information, d'échanges... Mais est-ce vraiment ainsi que les internautes conçoivent le monde virtuel ? À en croire certains spécialistes de l'économie de l'attention, bien au contraire, les internautes se concentreraient sur un nombre très limité de sites et d'informations.
Climate change is now a familiar subject for most of the individuals living in the industrialized countries, and no doubt a subject of growing interest in the emergent countries such as China. It arises with increasing frequency in the discussion of current affairs, when there is a significant climatic event (tornado, flood, drought etc.), international negotiations on how to deal with global warming, or scientific discussions etc.
How has this theme lodged itself in public debate? Who are the actors in that debate and how much of a part do they play? André Lebeau has examined these questions, attempting to determine how this initially highly scientific subject has over time found a foothold in economic, political and media debate.
After a brief presentation of the various actors concerned, he makes a detailed analysis of the emergence of the debate within the scientific community, particularly through the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). He then shows how climate change has entered economic debate, further gaining in complexity because it is so difficult to envisage its impacts or the economic solutions to it over time-periods of the order of a century. He then stresses the contribution of the media which, while giving the phenomenon visibility and hence making it a subject of interest for public opinion and the political world, do not always distinguish between what is essential and what is merely secondary. Lastly, he clarifies the current role of public opinion and of political decision-makers with regard to climate change, stressing that the process of entry into the debate and of dealing politically with climate questions is a very slow one - perhaps too slow, given the scale of the responses required.
En 2008, 88 % de la population française possèdent un téléphone portable, un chiffre en hausse de 6,6 % par rapport à 2007. Et, dans le monde, il y avait, fin 2007, environ 3,3 milliards de portables en service. Conscients de l'énorme potentiel de ce secteur, les industriels multiplient les fonctionnalités et les possibilités offertes par les téléphones portables.
In the current context of economic globalization, combining employment flexibility and employee security is one of the major challenges for France and Europe. Alongside the Danish route, which consists in making redundancy easier while at the same time boosting the performance of the employment agencies, the option of employer groupings can also be very attractive, both for employees and for companies. By coming together jointly to employ their workers - who operate in various companies within the group depending on the season or day of the week - the companies provide their employees with stable, open-ended employment and, at the same time, profit from the enhanced experience of these "multi-company" workers, while, at the same time, expanding their networks and increasing their synergy.
Jean-François Zobrist has been chief executive of an SME since 1983. He runs a foundry employing 550 people, which shows that harnessing talent and will is not just a matter for the high-tech sectors and hyper-qualified executives - and that good intentions can go hand in hand with healthy accounts. FAVI, a family business based in Hallencourt in Picardy, has proved itself the world leader in copper alloy injection. It is an economic success supported by research, product innovation and, above all, the humanistic management of its employees. The keys to that success are trust, strong values rather than regulations, clearly defined aims, a margin of freedom for the employees, and objective reasons for each person to contribute personally to the collective performance.
Edgar Morin, who was present on video at the "Entretiens de Margaux" (26-27 September 2007) and whom we met subsequently in Paris, points out a paradoxical situation. Hierarchical organizations and institutions call for innovation and claim to manage it, yet "real" innovation remains a deviant phenomenon that emerges at the margins, arousing incredulity, if not downright hostility, unless it manages to escape these confines and turn itself into a transformative force. This paradox applies to Edgar Morin's contribution itself. He is widely recognized today, but the style of thinking he champions - the systemic thinking without which we cannot grasp the complexity of major problems - remains a minority practice by comparison with binary reductionism. The interdisciplinary approach that thinking implies is fiercely contested by the mandarins. This illustrates the difficulties encountered by all innovation. Because they cannot be confined to any single category - philosophy, sociology or history - Edgar Morin's writings still irritate a lot of thinkers and alarm many critics who operate only in terms of monodisciplinary labels. His thought goes to the very heart of the range of issues around change and innovation in a world held in check by its own self-maintained cultural drag factors.
Jean-Paul Colin, a consultant and former executive of the IT giant Intel, shows here how hard it is for a rapidly growing company to retain the qualities that made it strong: namely, its capacity for innovation, and the fluidity in its decision-making circuits that enables new ideas to be implemented rapidly. Is a company doomed to decline once its size increases appreciably? Not necessarily, says Jean-Paul Colin. You have to think, above all, in terms of decision-making circuits, and not strictly in financial terms. This means you have sometimes to be open to dividing up the company structure, so as to achieve a better potential for innovation.
Two days of debate on the theme of innovation were organized on 26 and 27 September 2007 at Margaux, near Bordeaux, by Oséo, a public body created to finance and support innovation in French small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and by the Regional Council of Aquitaine. These "Entretiens de Margaux", aspiring to become a "Davos of Innovation", will be held again in 2009. The aim is to lend dynamism to - and transform - innovation in France, by stimulating activity on the part of the lead actors in the field, the SMEs.
André-Yves Portnoff took part in this meeting between 200 personalities from all parts of the world and in this issue he presents a special dossier, placing the lessons of the "Entretiens de Margaux" in the context of events that have happened since and of a variety of recent works. Alongside the articles by Jean-Paul Colin, Edgar Morin, Hervé Sérieyx and Jean-François Zobrist, André-Yves Portnoff identifies the main elements of interest for France and also for Europe.
The situation is grave, he says, diagnosing a desperate shortage of technical and organizational innovation. The economic and social consequences of this could turn out to be increasingly serious, for lack of sufficient investment from the major industrial groups and for want of long-term vision in industrial matters. As a matter of the utmost urgency, a context must be created in which SMEs can express and exploit their innovativeness, and can grow to take over from the ageing large industrial groups. This involves the elimination of the many existing obstacles, more humanistic methods of management, more partnerships and, more generally, a genuine cultural revolution that breaks with excessive state centralism and a reductive Cartesianism, a revolution that has been slow to emerge in France and in the European Union.
The era of cheap oil seems to be coming to an end and the exhaustion of fossil resources forms part of possible - if not, indeed, probable - scenarios over the next half century, as was shown by the special issue of Futuribles on "Energy Prospects and the Greenhouse Effect" of January 2006. If we add to this the need to reduce CO2 emissions in a context of global warming, it is high time, in the developed countries, to reflect on the possible alternatives to fossil fuels. In France, a team from EDF-R&D has considered this question seriously and constructed a scenario in which buildings (in the residential and tertiary sectors) will be operating without fossil fuels by the year 2050. They present their scenario here, together with the hypotheses on which it is based (and the reasons for selecting them) and the strategy required to arrive at such a point.
After reviewing the current situation of buildings in France in energy terms, the authors lay out in detail their recommendations for improving insulation, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies in new building and renovation. They show that, by implementing the measures they advocate, France could do without recourse to fossil fuels in building without significantly increasing the demand for electricity while, moreover, reducing its CO2 emissions by 90 million tonnes per annum. Lastly, they insist that such a change could be credibly achieved by 2050: the building sector could technically do without fossil fuels thanks to energy savings, the use of a little extra electricity and biomass, and appropriate financial instruments (to incite households to invest more in this area).
Google vient de lancer le portail " Google Health ", une sorte de dossier médical centralisé appuyé sur ses services Web. Une nouveauté révélatrice des mutations qui affectent le secteur de la santé confronté aux opportunités ouvertes par Internet.
In 2004, drawing its inspiration from foreign experiences and recommendations expressed in a number of reports, the French government decided on a new departure in industrial policy, setting up competitiveness hubs across the national territory. Four years after the launch of this policy, how do matters stand with it?
Thierry Weil and Stéphanie Fen Chong from the Observatoire des pôles de compétitivité (Competitiveness Hubs Observatory) recall here the genesis of the competitiveness hubs (the precursor systems, founding reports, specifications adopted, interplay between the actors, and emergence of the hubs). They then present the first lessons arising out of the development of these hubs, particularly focusing on the operation of projects, steering and finance, and the failings and inconsistencies observed. In this connection, they stress the difficulty of making an assessment at this stage: the hubs are still young, and premature evaluations may do a disservice to projects that are, in fact, essential. Lastly, they ask how this industrial dynamic can be maintained. In their view, this involves stimulating learning on the part of the various actors concerned and, once again, a long-term vision not focussed solely on the initial outcomes observed.
No one today denies the importance of satellite location and navigation systems - and their strategic importance in particular. The United States understood this long ago and developed an efficient system, the GPS or Global Positioning System, which is the world leader in the field by some distance. Other powers (Russia, China and Europe) have followed this lead in recent years. The European Union began to take interest in the question in the late 1990s, but the project named Galileo was not officially launched (with the appropriate structure and funding) until 2002. Beyond the technical and industrial aspects of the project, the aim is to possess genuine independence in the area of satellite location and navigation, as André Lebeau showed in this publication in February 2004.
Despite this declared ambition, the development of the Galileo programme has run up against many obstacles in the interim, particularly of a political and institutional kind, and these are described for us here by Didier Faivre, a specialist in this field within the European Space Agency. It was not until late 2007 that the European project was given the final go-ahead and concrete decisions were taken, both at the financial and programmatic levels. This article analyses the recent developments that have produced this second wind for Galileo, at the same time recalling the many related issues.
Quelques mois après les « émeutes de la faim » qui ont secoué un certain nombre de pays souffrant particulièrement de la hausse des prix agricoles, le magazine de l?INRA (Institut national de la recherche agronomique) a choisi de revenir sur une question cruciale pour l?agriculture mondiale, celle de l?avenir de la recherche agronomique. Ce dossier présente notamment les résultats des derniers travaux d?Agrimonde, un projet initié en 2006 par l?INRA et le CIRAD (Centre de coopération ...
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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.