Recherche, sciences, techniques
Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Alors que surgissent de nouveaux canaux à travers lesquels se répandent d'autres formes attractives de communication (multimédia, immédiates, interactives), une sorte d' « hyperlettrisme » coexiste avec un nouveau type d'« illettrisme », altérant ainsi nos approches du livre et de la lecture. Quelles sont les conséquences de ces métamorphoses du livre et de la lecture ? Quel avenir peut-on leur prévoir ? Ce sont les questions auxquelles des experts de diverses disciplines tentent de répondre dans ce volume.
This article examines the most recent assessments of the spread of information technology (IT) in the French economy and their contribution to growth; these evaluations are accompanied by some comparisons with the United States.
The authors start by looking at the impact of IT on the French economy, focusing first on the share of IT output in total production, and then on how they have spread throughout the whole economy. On this second point, they point out the difficulties of conducting an accurate evaluation in the absence of appropriate indicators and comparable data covering a long period. Nevertheless, they conclude that the IT have shown a strong upward trend in France, albeit to a lesser extent than in the United States.
In the second part of the article, the authors investigate the contribution of the IT (roughly defined as computer and telecommunications hardware and software) to growth. Here, too, they emphasize the problems of making an evaluation, but conclude that the contribution to the growth of GDP in France of all the IT taken together was probably on average around 0.3% per annum between 1967 and 1999. They note that this contribution, though far from negligible, was well below the comparable figure for the United States.
The well-known Solow paradox is named after the winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, who pointed out that "you see computers everywhere except in statistics on productivity".
As is shown by the article elsewhere in this issue of the impact of IT on growth, the contribution of information technology on productivity is still hard to measure. They do, however, make an important contribution to the improvement of products, as Pierre Bonnaure argues, taking the example of automobiles.
He sets out to show how car manufacturers have introduced more and more IT into their products and highlights the resulting advantages, for example in terms of safety and comfort.
L'IPTS (Institute for Prospective Technological Studies) a consacré l'intégralité de son dernier numéro de l'année 2000 à la place du débat éthique dans le monde de la recherche. Après une introduction et deux premiers articles précisant la définition ici retenue de l'éthique et les questions de cette nature posées par l'évaluation de la recherche et de la science, « antidote[s] à l'impunité », Susan Cozzens présente le concept de gestion par les résultats. Depuis 10 ...
(128 more words)
This is a time of "new growth", thanks to the IT (information technology) and the widespread confidence, indeed conviction, that we are at the beginning of a new Kondratiev upturn, launched into a new era of stable prosperity.
Michel Godet, sceptical as always of generally accepted ideas, warns us to be cautious. True, Europe is currently enjoying a new growth spurt, which furthermore has created new jobs. But this phenomenon, here in Europe as in the United States, has little to do with the IT.
The impact of the IT obviously should not be overlooked, since they have undoubtedly helped in the development of a new economy, in particular by stimulating competition and therefore lower prices. Yet the new growth should not be overestimated on the basis of the Nasdac and the stock market bubble which will ultimately burst.
In any case, Godet argues, convinced that human beings are the only real source of wealth and that the future depends on what they want, the growth cycle theories (especially that of Kondratiev) are illusory. The new growth cannot continue without generating adverse side-effects and consequently in Europe, with its ageing population, weak and fluctuating demand.
Gérard Blanc discusses at some length the most recent book by the great American expert on artificial intelligence, Ray Kurzweil, in which he argues that as computers become increasingly endowed with intelligence and even consciousness, they will come into direct competition with human beings.
Ray Kurzweil has little doubt that from now until 2009, 2019, 2029 and 2099, computers will continue to make giant strides and will allow human beings, if not to become immortal, at least to "remake" themselves.
The issue discussed here is therefore whether machine intelligence is superior to or different from human intelligence, if not, indeed, human consciousness, and, following from that, what role and place will be left for the human race.
There are frequent criticisms of the fact that in France, scientific achievements are perfectly satisfactory but they have little economic impact, and that the country is remarkable for its inability to translate ideas into actions. Such, for example, was the diagnosis of Henri Guillaume in his report on technology and innovation (La Technologie et l'innovation), which came out in 1998, though the handicap had already been pointed out by OECD in 1978 and again in 1986 in its report on innovation policy in France (Paris: OECD, 384 pp.).
However, Pascal Byé and Robert Magnaval (who died in August 1999) argue here that the relationship between research and development is far more complex than people usually realise, that the causal links cannot be considered as direct and unambiguous, and that in any case scientific research operates within a different time-frame to industrial development, and the conditions are not so simple.
In particular, they show that factors related to the dynamics of organisations and markets affect the application and spread of the results of public research, and even more for private research. And, rather than endlessly criticising the paradox, it would probably be better to treat the process of innovation differently, according to its own logic.
The new economy, e-commerce: the two terms are widely used today as if they were synonyms, as if growth was generated only by the new technologies. The question raised by Michel Drancourt - can computers be a source of productivity and growth? - may therefore appear surprising. However, as he shows very clearly, the answer is not that straightforward because, while the increases in productivity are obvious, they are the result of a more complex process of reshaping firms and the system of production, of a mixture of technological innovation and social and organizational changes.
In fact, one of the major challenges facing us today relates to our ability to innovate in these two areas simultaneously, even though the pace of technical progress is clearly much faster than that of social change.
L'Institut de prospective technologique (IPTS) nous propose un numéro spécialement consacré aux interactions entre science et gouvernement, au travers d'articles rédigés par des acteurs appartenant tant au milieu scientifique qu'au secteur industriel ou au lobbying. Outre les aspects théoriques des relations science-gouvernement (« gouverner la recherche », « l'engagement des parties » concernées, « améliorer le dialogue » entre ces deux sphères, « contributions scientifiques et frontières nationales »...), on trouvera dans ce numéro plusieurs études de cas : l'approche canadienne de l'utilisation ...
(96 more words)
In the Pays de la Loire region, while the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire are attracting large numbers of applicants for jobs, building firms are having major problems in finding the skilled workers that they require.
Gabriel David, who is the regional representative for training for the Confederation of Small Businesses and Craftsmen in the Building Trade in the Pays de la Loire (CAPEB), discusses the vacancy situation and the methods necessary in order to fill the available vacancies.
He describes the energetic efforts required to remedy the skills shortages, especially in trying to achieve a better match between supply and demand, which is difficult not only because of the lack of qualified people, but also because of their expectations and the image of some professions.
The remarkable upturn in the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire, which a few years ago went through a major crisis leading to massive lay-offs, is now generating a demand for labour that is hard to satisfy while keeping control of wage costs so as not to compromise the hard-won return to competitiveness.
Arnaud du Crest has been to interview for Futuribles Claire Guihéneuf, who is in charge of monitoring for the local economic development agency for the region of Saint-Nazaire, and Catherine Guilbaudeau, head of the National Employment Agency (ANPE), about the policies adopted by the shipyards both for their own recruitment needs and to make use of a network of appropriate subcontractors and suppliers.
What emerges is the key role of the firm and its image, as well as its capacity to undertake a major training programme, with the help of the national and regional authorities. Success does, however, have its downside: the suppliers have much greater difficulties than the shipyards in finding skilled workers, and there is also a shortage of adequate accommodation for those newly hired. Housing therefore will need to be built, but the construction industry is having problems in keeping up with the demand (see the account by Gabriel David elsewhere in this issue).
Today, the wealth of nations and their political influence depend on their human capital. Yet in Russia, the health of the workforce has seen a serious and lasting decline which is extremely worrying, according to Nicholas Eberstadt.
He bases his argument on an analysis of the state of health of the Russian population, in particular the mortality rates. He shows that the rate, for all ages and both sexes, has worsened considerably in recent years, mainly as a result of cardiovascular disease and "accidents and other forms of violent death", frequently caused by alcohol abuse.
N. Eberstadt recognizes that mortality rates have risen in other countries too at certain times (e.g. Spain, west Germany, Japan), but these were temporary peaks, usually connected with wars, and were immediately followed by major improvements.
In Russia, however, the situation is quite different: we are seeing a long-term trend that is not related to any particular accidental occurrence, and Eberstadt therefore doubts whether it can be rapidly reversed. On the contrary, he foresees this leading to an economic and political decline in the medium and long term in the Russian Federation.
Les sociologues qui se sont intéressés à la modernisation, comme Karl Marx et Daniel Bell, ont posé l'hypothèse que le développement économique entraînait de profonds changements culturels. Mais d'autres, de Max Weber à Samuel Huntington, ont prétendu à l'inverse que c'étaient les systèmes de valeurs qui avaient une influence fondamentale sur la société. Ronald Inglehart et Wayne E. Baker, utilisant les résultats des trois enquêtes successives sur les valeurs mondiales, qu'ils ont menées dans 65 ...
(194 more words)
La société de l'information est caractérisée par un mélange d'innovations technologiques, de changements dans l'organisation des entreprises et de mutations structurelles de l'économie. L'avenir du travail se décrit souvent avec des termes comme la flexibilité, l'employabilité, la communication, la compétence, la société de la connaissance, le travail à distance. Les développements technologiques récents incitent au changement, mais ne déterminent pas les options futures. Dans un tel contexte, comment concilier l'amélioration de la qualité ...
(41 more words)
Comme l'indique explicitement le titre, cet ouvrage traite de la question des villes virtuelles ou encore de l'émergence de villes dans le cyberespace et s'interroge sur le sens à leur attribuer. Sont identifiées « villes virtuelles » les villes présentes sur Internet, soit à l'initiative de l'administration locale, soit à l'initiative d'acteurs locaux. Les trois auteurs ont pris pour objectif de réfléchir sur les capacités des villes virtuelles à renouveler le lien démocratique, à partir ...
(594 more words)
De fait, cet ouvrage de vulgarisation, écrit sur un ton « branché » mais s'appuyant sur la culture économique solide de l'auteur, ne vise pas tant à répondre à la question posée (y croire ou pas ?) qu'à dégager les caractéristiques essentielles de ce qu'il est désormais coutume d'appeler la « nouvelle économie » et à essayer de déterminer la pertinence d'une telle appellation plus ou moins contrôlée. Les diverses facettes de la nouvelle phase de croissance forte tirée ...
(261 more words)
Ce manuel part d'un constat : nombreux sont les professionnels de la santé, en particulier dans le secteur public des pays en développement et là où les ressources sont limitées, qui n'ont qu'une vague connaissance des techniques de la prospective et des principes sur lesquels celles-ci se fondent. Cet ouvrage a été conçu pour combler cette lacune : une introduction générale à la prospective précède une description des applications pratiques de ces outils au secteur de la santé, ainsi ...
(49 more words)
Over the last 25 years we have witnessed the amazing rise of Bill Gates and his firm Microsoft, the world leader in software for personal computers, which will prove to be the leading business of the end of the 20th century.
Success, however, has its downside: the company, which has its headquarters in Redmont (USA), is currently being attacked in the American courts under the anti-trust legislation because of its dominant position and may ultimately be obliged to break up. But Bill Gates is not finished yet. Pierre Bonnaure looks here at the different strategic options opened to him, including publishing the basic code for Windows on which he has built his wealth.
According to Pierre Bonnaure, Microsoft could yet win through by giving up its monopoly on software that is becoming out-of-date and by playing a pioneering role in the new generation of network computers.
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.