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Baksansky, O. E. Convergence: Conceptual Grounds of Megascience

Published in journal "Philosophy and Culture", 2014-4 in rubric "The new paradigm of science", pages 505-518.

Resume: The process of scientific development starts with the appearance of numerous unrelated branches of knowledge. Later these branches of knowledge usually are usually combined in larger spheres. However, as these spheres develop and extend, the tendency towards formation of narrower majors appears. On the contrary, different spheres of technology have been always developing interdependently. As a rule, breakthrough in one sphere of technology has been always accompanied with the breakthroughs in other spheres. However, today we can witness the intersection of a whole number of different waves of technological revolutions. In particular, there is the revolution that has been ongoing in the sphere of information and communication technologies since the 80s of XXth century followed by the biotechnology revolution and the recent revolution in the sphere of nanotechnology. Attention should be also paid to the rapid development of cognitive science during the last decade. The interaction between information technologies, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies and cognitive science appears to be especially interesting and significant. The phenomenon was called the NBICS-convergence (where N means Nano-, B means Bio-, I means Info-, C means cognitive and S means socio-humanitarian studies and technologies). Convergent technologies mean Nano-, Bio-, Info-, Cogno and Social and Humanitarian technologies. The author of the article analyzes the risks and social and economic consequences of the development of these technologies such as the dramatic change in the picture of the world and research methodology. The scientific picture of the world demands us to return to the natural philosophy (philosophy of nature). Even Newton started with the natural philosophy 300 years ago. Philosophy of nature covers both natural and humanitarian sciences. Convergent NBICS-technologies serve as an essential tool for solving this task. However, besides positive aspects NBICS-convergence is fraught with dangers and social and economic risks. Key risk factors in many ways depend on particular possibilities and scope of application of the convergent technologies.

Keywords: convergent technologies, socio-humanitarian technologies, socio-economic risks, safety, conceptual grounds of the theory of knowledge, nano-bio-info-technology, cognitive science, scientific picture of the world, suprasectoral technology, technological revolution.

DOI: 10.7256/1999-2793.2014.4.10390

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