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I will try very hard in these musings to describe some of the important science and technology policy issues that our world society is or should be dealing with.

First, what do we mean when we refer to science and technology policy?

Science and technology policy is about two things. One is the discussion and formation of policy to help us deal with the ever-increasing spread of technology. New technologies almost always affect society in both good and bad ways. The best current examples are smart phones or Internet devices. These wonderful inventions allow us to follow our children, get instant updates on events, track stocks, etc. They can also be used to spy on us and provide unprecedented access to our children. Clearly we need to develop, and are developing, policy and legislation to increase the good while limiting the bad.

The second type of science and technology policy is the use of science and scientific methods to analyze the options for development of public policy and legislation. In other words, we think that good public policy should have rigorous science behind it, and that policy or law should not be based solely on the whims of one segment of the population. This is difficult!

That is the theme, science and technology policy, and I will try to stay in that lane, but will surely run off the road from time to time. So, here’s an invitation to join me on that ride. I’ll spend a few minutes every other day or so discussing these issues, and as always – your feedback is more than welcome.

Mike Swetnam