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Algemeen

The burden and the joy of being Homo Sapiens, the wise species.

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The Anthropocene is commonly understood as the epoch in which the technological activity of industrialized humanity becomes the dominant factor shaping the Earth and its associated life-supporting systems. Supplementing the Holocene, where the relatively warm climate was considered to be the critical geological factor, the Anthropocene places anthropic technological activity in the center, thus marking the time in which natural and human forces are intertwined, so that the fate of the one determines the fate of the other. The concept of the Anthropocene is not isolated to the scientific fields of climate science, geology, and earth-system science, but moves beyond…

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THE FUNDAMENTALLY AMBIGUOUS NATURE OF TECHNOLOGY

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Technology and/or Nature: Denatured/Renatured/Engineered … In our high-tech world, do we live at the end of nature? Is the technosphere replacing the biosphere? Can humans control their genetically inherited Pleistocene appetites in an Anthropocene Epoch? Living on an engineered planet? Would this fulfill human destiny or display human arrogance, failing to embrace our home planet in care and wonder? The future holds advancing technology to create unimaginable futures, but do not want to live a de-natured life, on a de-natured planet. We are powerfully reshaping human existence: the degradation, if not destruction, of large parts of the natural world, and…

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Decision-Making in Complex Dynamic and Evolutive Systems

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The year 2020 has surprised humans in many ways. From encountering a pandemic, addressing a global recession, and witnessing the global geopolitical changes, humanity is standing in ambiguous times. However, not everything is uncertain. Throughout the year, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of Things, and augmented/virtual reality, amongst others have spearheaded innovation with a promising future. These technologies have validated that despite the crisis, technology will transform the world. Not only do we have more access to information than ever before, but we also see a confluence of cyber, physical, and biological technologies that no longer exist…

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We possess the skills, resources, and innovative capacity to create many possible futures.

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Today, there are increasing signs that the biosphere as a whole is affected in its regulation of biological and geophysical processes by the current scale of human activities. As society has moved from a relatively ‘empty world’ in which human activity was small relative to overall planetary processes to a relatively ‘full world’ in which human activity dominates the planet, an exclusive emphasis on economic growth could produce serious, and possibly irreversible, ecological damage. At the same time, overall economic growth has failed to bring wealth and improvements in well-being to many around the globe. The industrial society of today,…

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Think 2030 and beyond

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I feel privileged to have worked with a team of students of the Delft University of Technology on our future cities. Humanity is confronted with an ever-changing environment. At the rate and pace humanity is going now with respect to increasing globalization, climate change, increasing demand for food, water and other resources the future will not look positive for humanity. These challenges are enormous in scale and complexity, and we will need to take equally enormous leaps in our imagination to meet them successfully. With regards to the urban environment, the direction we are heading towards now will not sustain…

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Cities are at a rupture point and the old rules no longer apply.

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Poet D. H. Lawrence wrote, “I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea,” creating a metaphor of connectedness and implicit oneness with the world. This quote signals the tension between the complex processes at work that govern our existence on Earth by inviting us to be reassured by our embodied entanglement within ecosystems, other than human entities, and microbial others. Reflective of the scope of what this review sets out to accomplish, our article explores these…

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HUMANITY HAS CHANGED NATURE PROFOUNDLY, BUT IT MAY BE ONLY THE BEGINNING.

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Transforming and regenerating the Earth as well as our development pattern will be useful to future generations. The well-being of our future will be dependent on how we can produce technology that can govern our climate, health, social equity and stability. Industry 4.0 emerged from innovative digital technology to create value creation, whilst Society 5.0 is argued as a human-centered society that balances economic advancement with Industry 4.0. On the other hand, the environment has provided us with natural resources that speed up the growth of our industries and economies towards sustainability. Technology 4.0 can be used to mitigate and…

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Six million years ago, an ancestor, standing upright, began the human venture.

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Virtually all organisms, including humans, are, in a real sense, sunlight transmogrified, temporary waypoints in the flow of energy. Ecological succession, viewed from a thermodynamic perspective, is a process that maximizes the capture and degradation of energy. Similarly, the tendency for life to become more complex over the past 3.5 billion years (as well as the overall increase in biomass and organismal diversity through time) is not due simply to natural selection, as most evolutionists still argue, but also to nature’s efforts to grab more and more of the sun’s flow. The slow burn that characterizes life enables ecological systems…

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RECONFIGURE THE EARTH’S VERY METABOLISM

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There are no longer any places left on Earth untouched by humans. In the newly designated ‘human age’, our species’ impact on the oceans, the land and the atmosphere has become an inescapable feature of the Earth. This idea that humanity has forced a geological transition is capturing people’s attention not just because changes in epochs are rare. It is attracting notice because our species is gripped by the idea that we possess planetary powers. The significance of this goes beyond statistics documenting melting glaciers and shrinking species counts. It signals a new geological epoch, The Anthropocene. One of the…

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Cities, think 2030+

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DYNAMIC CHANGE We are confronted with changing, increasing globalization and the importance of innovation and new technologies. Innovations and technologies that will have consequences for us in areas such as cities and the built environment. And thus for our structure and culture. The anticipated global population of more than 9.7 billion by 2050 poses daunting challenges from providing sufficient energy, food, and water, as well as health care more accurately and at lower cost, to trespassing biogeophysical boundaries. These challenges are enormous in scale and complexity, and we will need to take equally enormous leaps in our imagination to meet…

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