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NAE Perspectives
NAE Perspectives offer practitioners, scholars, and policy leaders a platform to comment on developments and issues relating to engineering.
  • image for Ensuring Human Control over AI-Infused Systems
    Human control over technology was a concern thousands of years ago when early humans sought to ensure safe use of fire. Later, control over horse-drawn wagons and eventually steam engines led to debates about how to make the most of their benefits while limiting dangers. Now questions of control are central in the design of AI-infused technologies, for which some advocates envision full machine autonomy while others promote human autonomy.
  • image for Augmenting Our Thinking through the Nexus of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Art
    Today, more urgently than ever, we need to augment our thinking. The world faces enormous challenges of unprecedented complexity—problems that intertwine in a dizzyingly interconnected, interdependent, and changing landscape. Few of them—especially those dealing with energy, environment, and social structures—admit clean solutions with clear endpoints.
  • image for Technoscientific Research: A Missing Term in R&D Discourse
    Over the past decade there have been consistent alarm signals about US leadership in science and technology. Arguments often boil down to the need for additional funding for R&D. In this perspective, I reflect not on the well-justified need for such additional funding, but for more effective funding, especially in technoscientific research, a key engine of innovation.
  • image for Transformative Opportunities in Transportation
    While transportation is costly in many ways and tiresome for many, it is critical for economic and social wellbeing. Goods and people need to reach their desired destinations in a timely manner. Large amounts of money, energy, land, labor, time, and natural resources are devoted to travel. And it is associated with crashes, sprawl, and harmful air emissions. But travel can also be a romantic pleasure, as celebrated in numerous books and movies. In the next few decades there are opportunities to reshape the landscape of familiar transportation systems. It is a pivotal time not seen for over a century, with transformations emerging in vehicle propulsion, automation, and telecommunications.
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