Professor Andy Stirling, STEPS Centre Co-Director, will be part of a keynote debate entitled “Engineering the future: cautionary tale or utopia?” on Sunday. The debate is part of the Battle of Ideas festival at the Royal College of Art in London.
“Are we are living in a world where utopian thinking is at best idle day-dreaming and at worst downright dangerous? Popular visions of large-scale engineering seem to be overshadowed by the negative aspects of the man-made world, from climate change to unsustainable growth to the unforeseen side effects of cutting-edge technology. Do we have to let go of the vision that engineering and technology can promise us continued improvement in quality of life? Is it really just wishful thinking to argue for a more ambitious role for human ingenuity, and the transformative power of innovation? Are we limited to only doom-and-gloom nightmares of nature taking revenge on humanity’s arrogance, to a perceived need for belt-tightening austerity and a tomorrow of ‘make do and mend’.”