“Nature is one”: how to avoid technological disasters

The session “Man, Nature, Society and Technology” was opened by Mikhail Kovaltsuk, President of the National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”. The event began with a brief history of technology development – starting with Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky. Back in the 1930s, Vernadsky warned of the consequences of human influence on nature, which would be far-reaching in the future. Today, technology has reached a level of development where it is not nature that threatens man, but vice versa – man threatens nature. Human error – such as the Chernobyl disaster or the plane crash – not only destroys hundreds and thousands of lives, but also causes significant damage to the environment. Another consequence of technological progress is the disappearance of jobs as we gradually reach the real uselessness of people in many industries, such as agriculture. An individual has become redundant as a worker – and because of this, the role of humanitarian knowledge is increasing, which should restore the humanitarian image of people in society, give them a creative basis.

Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov agreed that technology is changing the place of man in the world and society. If in the past the group played a huge role in the lives of both children and adults, today a significant part of communication has moved to the internet – because of this, children and young people are specifically taught communication and life skills in a group (soft skills). Issues of bioethics, law, medical ethics, ethics are attracting the attention of a growing number of specialists, higher education programs are being opened to train specialists in these subjects. The minister also noted the problem of modern higher education – with all the successes of Russian technical and physical education, there is a lack of basic training for young people in history, philosophy and sociology. That is why the sectoral universities -technical, medical- add a humanitarian element to the educational programs.

Andrey Rudskoy, Rector of St. Petersburg Polytechnic, named after MV Peter the Great. He stressed that technology can easily be transformed from a tool to help a man into a weapon. One of the problems of modern society, he says, is the deterioration of the understanding of the basic laws of nature, because “there is a technology that does everything. There is the Internet, who knows everything. Values, goals, objectives and methods – these words must describe the education system and the loss of at least one component threatens unbalanced human development. Technology and artificial intelligence can not fill the void.

Arkady Dvorkovich, President of the Skolkovo Foundation, and Mikhail Nenyukov, Operations Director of Rosnano spoke about the commercialization of new technologies, the application of developments, the attraction of industrial partners and other issues related to the technological development of our country. Alexander Veraksa, Head of the Department of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy of the School of Psychology of Moscow State University, returned the audience to the subject of the development of human personality. He said that, according to researchers, today’s five-year-olds spend an average of 24 hours in front of gadget screens each week. And scientists say that the bigger this time, the more problems children have with psychological and cognitive development. Conversely, if a child uses a gadget to communicate or solve certain problems (for example, learning), then the child has higher growth rates. However, content intended for children must be approved by experts – according to Alexander Veraksa, such an assessment becomes one of the most important tasks of modern child psychologists and educators.

Vadim Tarasov, Director of the Institute of Translational Medicine and Biotechnology, First Moscow State Medical University named II THEIR. Sechenov, spoke about the use of technology in medicine. Last year showed that Russian researchers are quite capable of creating world-class technologies that affect not only human health but also the economy, such as the Sputnik vaccine. Why can’t we develop similar technologies more often? Because there are problems with linking an idea, a product and an investment. And here more “humanitarian” experts should come into play – people who will be able to conduct high-quality studies of society, shape the problem and help commercialize the latest developments.

Stanislav Bushev, Vice-Rector of Moscow State University MV Lomonosov, confirmed that science needs experts in the socio-humanitarian profile who could explain to scientists who and why their work is needed. what does it mean? how it will affect the development of society. The problem is that today society perceives technology as something ordinary, “magical”, “wonderful” – something that does not require fundamental education. Therefore, it is extremely important to change the educational process so that students and pupils understand what is really hidden behind the already known to us, but still very complex scientific achievements.

Elena Bryzgalina, Head of the Department of Philosophy of Education, Faculty of Philosophy, Moscow State University Lomonosov MV Lomonosov, drew the public’s attention to the dilemma: when technology is new and its consequences are not clear, it is easy to understand arguments against its use. and once technology has become commonplace, it’s easy to lose control of it. Therefore, socio-humanitarian research is needed – permanent, as part of support – that can find a balance between potential risk and benefit. According to Bryzgalina, today Russia is actively moving towards the training of bioethics specialists who will be able to conduct such research and effectively convey to the public the necessary information about new developments. The last year of the pandemic has proved the need for such a job.

One of the final speakers at the event was Vladislav Panchenko, Chairman of the Board of the Russian Basic Research Foundation and Vice President of the National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”. Panchenko spoke about the most active development of additive technologies (technologies for creating and composing objects layer by layer). They allow you to work with a wide range of materials, to create the finest 3D products, to use the latest achievements in all scientific fields. The top achievement of additive technologies, according to Panchenko, is their use in medicine. Already today they allow the creation of implants, the restoration of damaged bones of patients. Additional technologies have enabled pediatric orthodontists to perform operations on young children much faster than before – now the intervention can only take about an hour.

“Nature is one,” Mikhail Kovalchuk summed up the session. It is not divided into physics, chemistry, biology, medicine. To integrate into the physical system and reduce its negative effects on it, people need to understand this.

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