The complex futures of emerging technologies: challenges and opportunities for science foresight and governance in Australia

Kristin Alford, Sarah Keenihan, Stephen McGrail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper outlines trends in the development of high-profile new technologies such as nano- and bio-technology, identifying roles foresight and governance practices must play to enable their usage in addressing 'wicked' problems (e.g. climate change). We explain the notion of emerging technologies, and their expected convergences, and consider both their potential and issues faced in the Australian context. Recent trends and emerging issues - such as slower, more problematic development and adoption than expected, and increasingly global competition to establish 'future industries' - are reviewed to identify a set of imperatives. These imperatives highlight emerging opportunities and challenges, focussing on how examining alternative futures and perspectives may help enable effective responses to emerging technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-86
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Futures Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Convergence
  • Emerging technologies
  • Expectations
  • Governance
  • Wicked problems

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