The Long View, Conversations on the Future



    Professor Rob Dunn, NC State Senior Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Programs, in collaboration with Greg Raschke, Director of NC State Libraries, is developing The Long View, Conversations on the Future initiative to be implemented over the course of FYs 2022-2025 to help guide future planning for NC State’s diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary centers. Prof. Dunn intends to develop a series of scenarios for the future through conversations between individuals with disciplinary depth, innovators in technologies relevant to a particular topic, broad-thinking generalists and experts with an understanding of historical or social context. Professor Dunn will conduct and catalogue in person conversations with leading researchers about the intermediate and far future contextualized in light of stasis and business as usual models of the future. These conversations will consider the jobs of the future and the infrastructure that is necessary.

    Professor Dunn anticipates broad topical focus areas and will partner with existing centers including the following:  (1) the Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine (TriCEM) to consider the future evolution of resistance in light of the use of biocides; (2) the Center of Evolutionary Hologenomics (U. of Copenhagen) and the microbiome cluster at NC State to consider the future of human microbiomes; (3) the Comparative Medicine Institute (CMI) and the Global Health program at NC State to consider the future evolution of human pathogens; (4) the Genetic Engineering and Society Center (GES) to consider the future of  transgenic crops and transgenic mammals including humans; (5) the Global WASH cluster to consider the future of sanitation and safe water;  (6) the College of Education to consider the future of high school and college education in light of the digital future; (7) the Southeastern Climate Adaptation Science Center to identify the aspects of climate and its effects on which to focus.

    Other potential topics include soft robotics, toxins, artificial intelligence, the future of work and the workplace, and decision-making in light of uncertainty. This initiative will culminate in a public event that will be held at the NC State Libraries. Outputs of this initiative will include white papers, short form interviews, and open access stories and conversations that will be recorded and archived at the NC State libraries. These white papers have the potential to be used in long-term planning in centers and in university-wide planning regarding the immediate and far future.