AAAS ANNUAL MEETING, February 2018, Austin Texas, USA.

Session Summary:

Just as a pile of bricks is not a house, science without public engagement remains incomplete. Policymaking must be on the pulse of society’s wants or it too will fail in its application. Framing things as ‘science vs. society’ with science in the right doesn’t convince.

This session unites key actors striking a science & society policymaking balance to explore the interplay between ‘facts’ and ‘fears’ on 3 topical issues: vaccine hesitancy, food safety in nuclear disaster zone & eating bacteria for good health.

WORLD SCIENCE FORUM JORDAN, Special Session No 5: 11h30 – 13h00, Wednesday 8th November, Venue: Petra 2, Sea Floor

Session Summary:

How does artificial and human intelligence combine to help fight extremism content on Utube where 83% of worrisome videos are now being flagged in real-time and what should we think when Google’s AlphaGoZero teaches itself to be the world’s best Go player and dispenses with human wisdom? Is it already the present for some of us and the future for all to have Android receptionists in our shopping malls, robot workers in our factories or to have our newspaper articles written by search engines or our CVs and job interviews handled by machines? Do we even need Chief Science Advisers in government when AI might provide less biased answers or researchers in our labs when technology doesn’t need eating, smoking, toilet or sleeping breaks?

WORLD SCIENCE FORUM JORDAN, Special Session No 8: 16h30 – 18h00, Wednesday 8th November, Venue: Dead Sea 1, Sea Floor

Round-table abstract:

International funding – especially from philanthropy, development cooperation agencies, and multilateral agencies, constitutes a significant share of the total R&D spend in Africa. For example, in South Africa where national R&D expenditure is just below 0.8% of GDP, approximately 15% of this is sourced from foreign funding. Whilst science prospers through international cooperation and attracting foreign investment to strengthen science and innovation capacities is pursued by developed and developing countries alike, this session will examine if an over-reliance on international funding, as is often the case in Africa, distorts national R&D agendas.

WORLD SCIENCE FORUM JORDAN, Special Session No 22: 11h30 – 13h00, Friday 10th November, Venue: Petra 2, Sea Floor.

Session Summary:

Adopted by the UN just a year before Donald Trump’s election and the rise of ‘America First’, the subsequent collapse of the planned US-Asia trade bloc, the UK Brexit Referendum and the call for reform of NAFTA, NATO and the UN system, this session examines whether the 17 Sustainable Development Goals underpinned by 169 targets were always based on ideology and unrealistic promises or might, in fact, deliver action and results. Concrete case-studies spotlighting future health-care and how climate is literally ‘changing us’ are given, alongside a technical demonstration of upcycled mobile technology monitoring and protecting remote forests, enabling real-time interventions.