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Issue no. 2 - 2003

by Redazione FGB [1], 15 March 2003

In February, the Foundation's website hosted a seminar entitled "Progress and Responsibility: the transition from science to technology". The seminar, which lasted about a week, took as its starting point a paper by Giuseppe O. Longo (lecturer in information theory at the University of Trieste). A forum led by Longo himself and coordinated by Corrado del Bò (University of Pavia), a member of the staff of this site, and the discussant Andrea Rossetti (researcher at University of Milano Bicocca), was an integral part of the seminar.

Almost 70 written contributions were presented during the forum, as a result of the active participation of 23 'thinkers': "from the youngest, still students, to the oldest, consummate navigators in the sea of reflection and knowledge, each and every one bringing his or her own contribution: an uncertainty, a hypothesis, a proposal".

Without entering into the merit of any one topic in particular, and greatly simplifying the points raised, the relationship between science and technology was one of the most hotly debated subjects to emerge in the discussion. The crucial point of "responsibility in techno-science" played a central role, giving rise to reflections on the very concept of democracy that revealed its many problematic aspects.

The atmosphere of the forum, which provided a wealth of points for discussion and some very precise (and at times conflicting) opinions, was convivial: "I never felt that I was at the centre of a circle; rather, that I was balanced on a node of a network woven from aspirations, fears, anxieties and uncertainties".

The above quotes are taken from Professor Longo's closing presentation, which, like all the others, can be found on this site on page 8 of the Topics, along with the initial paper, introduction, articles and links.

The topics concerning the nexus between techno-science and responsibility, the debate on the role of democracy in the scientific context, the perception of risk in today's society and the ethical and philosophical questions raised by bio-engineering, are just some of the headings that for about three years now have punctuated the activity of this site. The seminar and the forum were another important stage in the exploration of these issues.

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