Prof. Karen Hussey (Global Change Institute, UQ)

History is replete with examples of societal transformations that have been ushered in by new technologies, often in “waves” of change, such as in the agricultural revolution, industrial revolution, and most recently the information and communications revolution. Indeed human ingenuity and inventiveness – often spurred by human desperation and misery or by commercial drive – has undoubtedly spawned remarkable achievements. Yet the development and implementation of new technologies has also produced unintended, often unwanted, outcomes. In an attempt to either avoid or minimise those unintended outcomes, regulatory and other governance responses to the assessment and management of risk have been developed over recent decades, with varying degrees of success, as is obvious from the myriad problems that now face societies. Yet we know that to overcome future challenges yet more scientific and technological innovation will be required, and governments and private sectors actors are investing heavily in new areas of science such as renewable energy, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, genomics and information technology – but these technologies are emerging at a time when the necessary global social, political and oversight frameworks to manage their effective and safe use are strained and disconnected. In this presentation, and drawing on work developed with Prof. Stephen Dovers (ANU), I discuss five key challenges that face governments as they try to grapple with risk and uncertainty in a rapidly changing world that sees science and technology developed in distinctly different ways to earlier times. 

About School Research Seminar Series

This series brings together the School’s research community and domestic as well as international leaders in the field of politics and international affairs. Across each semester, the series showcases a diverse and exciting range of topics. All are welcome to attend.

For any inquiries, please contact Emily Sievers ( 
Please note that many past research seminars are recorded and are available online. 

The Research Seminar Series program for Semester 1, 2023 

Artwork: Forme bleue (1935) by Sophie Taeuber-Arp