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

La quête du Graal et du génome humain

Jean-Jacques Salomon begins here by stating that the sequencing of the human genome, far from being an endeavour for human welfare, is the subject of a bitter competition, in particular, between public and private sector interests, and that its mapping reflects the geography of power...
Thus, the primary question according to him is whether the human genome is part of the common legacy of humanity (and constitutes a public good) or whether it can be, as is already the case today, privately appropriated and therefore sooner or later, become tradable.
The author subsequently stresses that the human genome cannot be understood as being identical and common to all humans, i.e. the genome of universal man, the average genome. On the contrary, quoting Richard Horton, he shows that the "practical interest of the human genome lies not so much in its actual sequence itself as in the genetic variations between individuals".
Finally, opposing all forms of genetic determinism, Jean-Jacques Salomon reminds us that human beings are not made up of genes that totally predetermine them, but that they also are the product of a social and cultural environment and that any theory explaining human behaviour through strictly physical and chemical factors is an aberration.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Du bluff génétique à la police moléculaire

Never, it seems, has the progress of science and technique been so ambivalent, giving rise (in particular in the realm of life sciences) to such fears and such hopes.
Discussing here the progress in genetics, Jacques Testart shows first the role played by myths and reality in the progress achieved so far, underlining in particular how the progress in knowledge reveals the depth of our ignorance, or rather, the uncertainty that surrounds many questions. "The attitude of scientific and political authorities reveals a concern to believe and make believe in the control of genetics, a concern which tends towards falsification and irresponsibility" he writes, in order to expose human vanity and the tendency to boast about a knowledge that one does not really have.
Despite that remaining doubt, the author in a second part shows "how we can use genetics". He stresses what advances can be expected, especially in so called predictive medicine, but simultaneously warns about the inherent dangers to genetic selection, the competition towards "molecular enhancement" or worse even, towards "genetic purification" and dangerous "molecular tagging".
It is high time says the author, to "demystify the fabulous promises of genetics and to democratise the field of techno-science". Here lies, no doubt, the greatest challenge for the years to come, in which all of us have a stake and which we can't leave to the secret deliberations of the few genetic initiates alone.

Revue

Entreprises, travail - Géopolitique - Recherche, sciences, techniques

L’essor du télétravail en Europe

The European Commission publishes an annual report on distance working in Europe. Anne de Beer, on the basis the 2000 Edition, observes that distance working is on the increase in Europe, in spite of the different forms it adopts and the significant differences in its popularity from one country to another.
For instance, this report reveals that although the number of distance workers in Europe rose above 10 million last year, this form of work is much more frequent in Scandinavian countries than in the Mediterranean, with France at the bottom of the list... except in terms of creating obstacles to its development.

Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Territoires, réseaux

Santé et territoires : les enjeux du futur à l’horizon 2020

L'ampleur des liens entre la santé (au-delà des soins) et les territoires, incite à une réflexion sur l'aménagement sanitaire du territoire. Elle se fonde sur des méthodes prospectives afin de dresser l'inventaire des idées reçues, de déterminer les tendances et de définir les enjeux qui domineront l'action à venir. Cette grille d'analyse fournit un cadre d'action à l'établissement de scénarios d'évolution et de propositions d'action publique.

Revue

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

Menace sur l’espèce humaine. Démocratiser le génie génétique

"In barely three decades we have learned how to isolate, modify and patent genes, to break through the boundaries separating species and kingdoms that had been fixed for millions of years, to turn living organisms into merchandise, industrial seedbeds and production lines of genetically modified or even cloned products."
Scientific advances are occurring at this swift pace, constantly driven forward by demand, and perhaps soon they will make it possible to abolish the human race altogether or to produce better human beings. "Why not take advantage of this? What's the problem?"
The problem derives first from the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the vegetable, then the animal and human kingdoms, encouraged by scientific progress and market forces, without either mastery of or control over the undesirable consequences that may result.
Louise Vandelac focuses first on GMOs in order to show how staggeringly fast the spread of GM crops has been and what the causes for concern are. Then, switching from one species to another, she shows how the efforts to deal with infertility by developing in vitro fertilization brought us rapidly to being able to manipulate the genome of embryos so that they could be assessed, sorted and their faults corrected...
The author thus emphasizes how we are moving by leaps and bounds towards making living things completely artificially, how carelessly we are entering into a phase of biological production methods, of "gentle, incipient, individualistic and consumer-oriented" eugenics, a period marked by incredible combinations: body and soul, gametes and embryos, muddling species, human beings and things...
"How come we give certain people today such extraordinary powers?", demands Louise Vandelac. She then goes on to argue that it is both paradoxal and suicidal to allow science to have such a strong hold over matters of individual and collective identity. We should not stand idly by, but rather "insist on having the chance to think together about the origins, scope and complexity of this commercial, death-dealing and eugenic approach to living things. Science must be made part of the democratic process."

Editorial

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Science sans conscience…

Fort anciennes sont les questions posées par le progrès de la science et des techniques qui faisaient déjà dire à Rabelais que " science sans conscience n'est que ruine de l'âme ". Questions qui, depuis des siècles, ont hanté nombre de philosophes s'inquiétant de la puissance toujours plus grande dont nous disposons sans que notre sagesse augmente en proportion. Sans, a fortiori, que les scientifiques eux-mêmes, hormis quelques rares exceptions, tout occupés à produire de nouvelles connaissances et techniques ...

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Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Le boom de la gène-économie. Le marché des clones, ou l’avènement de l’homme-dieu

Whereas in Europe, several countries (including France) regard human cloning as a violation of a basic taboo, and therefore ponder, hesitate and consult with their ethics committees, the Americans have forged ahead without worrying unduly. Clearly, attitudes to innovation are quite different in the Old and New Worlds. Since the "last frontier" was reached and the whole continent occupied from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the United States has always treated technological innovation as a new frontier, and science itself has become, as in the title of the report that Roosevelt commissioned from his scientific adviser, Vannevar Bush, "the endless frontier". It is therefore not surprising that the commercialization of cloning should already be a topic for economic analysis in the United States.
One might assume that two articles put out by the deeply serious United Press International, under the by-line of its equally serious economics editor, were written tongue in cheek. Nevertheless, even if they belong in Brave New World, they highlight the hopes raised by the economics of eugenics.
Of the three possibilities discussed -human cloning, manipulating embryos in order to perfect or get rid of certain characteristics, and producing human beings by entirely artificial means- none can be ruled out as feasible within the next five to ten years, but the markets linked to each of these differs enormously in terms of likely yields and productivity. The cost of human cloning is doubtless prohibitive, even though Martin Hutchinson says one should not underestimate the power of human vanity as a marketing factor. On the other hand, manipulating human embryos in order to detect and avoid certain hereditary diseases, or to enhance the intelligence, sporting abilities or physical beauty of a future child opens up a much larger market, with many economic spin-offs. In the 16th century, indulgences sold by the Church enabled people to buy a soul and salvation. The business of genetic engineering will enable people to buy a body with the attributes and the fantasies of perfection, perpetual good health or immortality: isn't the clone-boom the real New Economy?

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

L’homme invisible. À propos du film de Paul Verhoeven, l’Homme sans ombre

This review by Laurence Alfonsi of Paul Verhoeven's film The Hollow Man -first shown in France in autumn 2000- rounds off the various reflections generated by Louise Vandelac, Bill Joy and Martin Hutchinson in the course of this issue of Futuribles with regard to the risks for human beings of using science "without conscience".

Revue

Économie, emploi - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Nouvelles technologies et emploi. À propos d’une étude du BIPE sur l’impact des technologies de l’information et de la communication

Anne de Beer and Gérard Blanc comment here on a recent study by the BIPE on the impact of the information and communications technologies (ICTs) on growth, productivity and employment.
We know that over two decades the investments in ICTs seem not to have had a major impact on productivity and employment -hence Solow's famous paradox: "computers are everywhere except in the statistics". Perhaps, suggest the authors, this is because the introduction of these technologies required a considerable effort of organizational and sociocultural adaptation and innovation which occurred slowly.
According to the BIPE, however, the impact of the ICTs appears to have been clearly positive, first in the United States since the mid 1990s, slightly later in France. Not only did these technologies constitute an extremely dynamic sector but, in addition, they encouraged the whole range of economic activities and therefore had a major multiplier effect on growth, productivity and employment.
Basing its study on the structure of the French economy in 1998, the BIPE attempted to estimate the multiplier effect that the ICTs might have on the French economy between now and 2003. This article briefly reviews these simulations, which are quite promising.

Revue

Économie, emploi - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Réflexions sur la nouvelle économie

With the Internet and the spread of the information and communication technologies (ITCs), one noticed the emergence (especially in the United States of America) of the concept of a "Net-economy", as well as the one, broader, of a "new economy". Their advocates argue that we would have entered a new era, characterized by a technological and economic paradigm that would be totally different from the former.
Frédéric Teulon first indicates what this concept of a "new economy" means, and explains how the idea could emerge that the growth of the ITCs -as well as those of the rail in the XIXth century and of the electricity and the car in the XXth - can signify a new era. The author wonders how it could denote that we would be now at the beginning of a new upswing in the Kondratieff cycle. In this regard, he points out the effective improvements accomplished, despite the delay justifying Solow's paradox -computers can be seen everywhere except in the productivity rate- and due to the deep restructuring of the American productive system.
But, even if technological innovation is patent and if information now represents the main factor of wealth, it does not necessarily mean that the past economic rules are outdated. Frédéric Teulon, through various examples, demonstrates that on the contrary these remain really relevant: the ITCs do not imply the end of the big firm, of the market economy (vs. economy of the free), of integration, of the risk of inflation...
It is important not to be deluded by the takeoff of the Nasdaq -Nasdaq which has lost half its value since March 2000... Many start-ups will be bankrupt... All this is normal: the "new economy" functions in the same way as the old; if technical improvement permitted growth, the fact remains that the problematic of development is much more complex than what is explained by those who want to present a univocal answer. Economic, fiscal and monetary policies, for instance, remain as far important.

Bibliography

Géopolitique - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Networks and Netwars : The Future of Terror, Crime and Militancy

Les tragiques événements du 11 septembre 2001 ont brutalement montré que les guerres du futur n'auront pas lieu entre des États et que leurs acteurs ne seront pas les forces armées traditionnelles, mais des groupes terroristes comme Al Qaida ou des cartels de drogue comme ceux qui ravagent la Colombie et le Mexique. Leur pendant « positif » peut se trouver dans les activistes non violents de la société civile qui se battent pour les droits de l'homme ou l ...

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Bibliography

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

OGM et agriculture : options pour l’action publique

À la demande des ministres de l'Agriculture et de l'Environnement, le Commissariat général du Plan a mis en place en octobre 2000 un groupe de concertation chargé « d'apporter des éléments en vue d'un débat de fond sur les avantages et les risques liés à l'utilisation des plantes génétiquement modifiées ». Le groupe, présidé par Bernard Chevassus-au-Louis, a réuni l'ensemble des parties intéressées : acteurs de la filière agricole et alimentaire, administrations, organisations non gouvernementales et experts ...

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Bibliography

Économie, emploi - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Géographie secrète de la nouvelle économie. L’an 15 après Gates

Les bouleversements de l'histoire de l'humanité ont souvent eu pour origine la découverte de nouveaux territoires. Or, à notre époque, il n'y a plus de continent à découvrir. Et pourtant la vie politique, économique, sociale, ne cesse d'être bouleversée. En réalité, un nouveau continent est en train de se développer, fluide et sans frontières. Les barrières s'effacent entre les nations et les régions, entre les entreprises, entre les gouvernements et les organisations non gouvernementales. Les ...

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Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Prospective et apprentissage organisationnel

Les dimensions cognitives de la prospective sont appréhendées dans la littérature de manière souvent implicite et partielle. La plupart des auteurs de la discipline ont, en effet, bien conscience que la prospective vise à modéliser des connaissances, qu'elle repose sur des projections mentales concernant les futurs possibles ou bien que ce type de démarche est susceptible d'influencer les représentations du monde. Mais l'analyse de l'impact cognitif de la prospective en tant qu'objet de recherche en ...

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Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Territoires, réseaux

Évaluation, prospective et développement régional

La prospective collecte et traite des informations pour déceler les tendances d'évolution, identifier les ruptures, déterminer l'éventail des futurs possibles et, ainsi, améliorer la qualité de la décision à prendre aujourd'hui. L'évaluation collecte et traite des informations pour apprécier les décisions passées, leur mise en œuvre et en tirer des leçons pour améliorer la qualité de la décision à prendre aujourd'hui. À un moment où les citoyens demandent plus de transparence dans la gestion publique ...

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Bibliography

Économie, emploi - Recherche, sciences, techniques

De la démocratie budgétaire en Amérique. L’information économique aux États-Unis : quels enseignements pour la France ?

À la suite de la ridicule affaire de la « cagnotte » budgétaire française de l'an 2000, le Sénat a lancé une mission sur le thème de « la démocratie budgétaire en Amérique » pour procéder à des comparaisons avec le système français. Tout ce qui est américain n'est pas transposable. Mais le rapport du Sénat publié en 2001 insiste tout de même sur la supériorité « démocratique » d'un système fondé sur le pluralisme, l'importance des contre-expertises indépendantes, notamment pour l ...

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Bibliography

Économie, emploi - Recherche, sciences, techniques

The World Employment Report 2001 : Life at Work in the Information Economy

Ce rapport, qui existe sous forme de livre et de cédérom, après avoir dressé comme chaque année la situation de l'emploi dans le monde, examine les avantages et les inconvénients pour l'emploi de l'essor des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC). En augmentant la productivité, réduisant les coûts et accélérant les communications, ces technologies, qui sont considérées comme d'importants facteurs de croissance économique et de création de richesse, sont en train de forger ...

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Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Concevoir l’innovation industrielle

Professeur en sciences économiques à l'Institut national des sciences appliquées de Lyon (INSA) et au laboratoire « Interaction collaborative, téléformation, téléactivités » (ICTT), directeur de recherche au Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Jacques Perrin nous livre ici une réflexion enrichissante sur l'innovation. Sur la base de nombreux exemples empruntés à l'histoire des techniques et des théories de la conception, il se propose de « comprendre les processus de production d'innovation en les identifiant à des processus de ...

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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.