Seminar: Professor Steve Rayner, "Science, Technology and Society: Unlocking Complex Systems"

Past Event

22 November 2007, 4:30pm - 6:00pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Professor Steve Rayner, Director of the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization

with Felix Reed-Tscochas, Lecturer in Complex Systems

Abstract: Complex socio-technical systems typically are highly path dependent, and frequently exhibit unplanned and unanticipated technological and behavioural lock-ins. This can be especially problematic when circumstances arise which make it desirable to switch from one system and set of standards to another. A highly relevant example is the need, given current concerns about climate change, to make a substantial shift away from activities based on carbon emitting technologies. Here one major challenge is that the global energy supply system is not the product of intentional design, but rather the outcome of many decentralised decisions and interconnected technologies. This seminar explores how the methods and approaches developed in the emerging field of complex systems and networks may help address problems with these characteristics.