At the 2nd annual Research in Action for the Filene Center for Emerging Technology at the University of California, Irvine, crisis was front and center. Crisis is a turning point, the crucial moment for decision-making. In such moments, the fates have not yet reached a conclusion. There is still time and opportunity to intervene.
The focus throughout the Research in Action was on three areas of contemporary instability and uncertainty—technology, the environment, and the economy—that seem to evade all efforts to control them. The decisions made by artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies outrun “human-all-too-human” attempts to understand them. Data warehouses become honeypots for hackers and fraudsters. Hurricanes and wildfires test the limits of our disaster response and recovery plans. Shifts in the prevailing socioeconomic winds can be as sudden, unpredictable, and unsettling as any natural disaster.
Ten speakers provoked lively discussion across an introductory presentation, two breakout panels, a lunchtime research talk, a Q&A-driven rap session with core providers, and an evocative keynote address. Research in Action speakers and participants returned again and again to this common theme: