Since the industrial revolution, the development of technology has been a search for convenience. Convenience can be measured in terms of the efficient use of time, space or energy. Faster, bigger or smaller were the goals. First, in terms of material-energy, and more recently, in terms of communication-information, convenience has become real. Technology has made it possible for non-winged mankind to fly in the sky. It has shown the ultimate limits of space and the world at its most detailed. It saves sick people that would not have ordinarily survived in the past. It has made it possible to run on the ground faster than 300 kilometers per hour. It is now possible to talk with people walking on a street on the other side of the globe. In other words, technology has made true the dreams of mankind to surpass temporal, spatial or intellectual limits. We are becoming supermen.
Our dreams are steadily becoming part of reality, and yet so many continue to feel a kind of discomfort. The trial of whether or not new technology will be able to eradicate this feeling is starting. The kind of technology that can do that will be the kind that recognizes the limits of human life and is focused on human beings who answer their existentialist impulses. It will be evaluated in terms of safety and security, not efficiency. We have learned the importance of such thought from the many disasters that have happened all over the world, including the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 and the successive troubles at the nuclear power stations.
This seminar will focus on what technology can do against disasters and also what science can do in the future to make all people feel and live at ease as precious members of our society, the earth and the universe.