Global Futures in Focus with Dominic Barton

Trailer - Global Futures in Focus with Dominic Barton

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Episode description

We are living in the most disruptive era in 200 years. The world continues to face multiple, compounding crises that cut across society, health, the environment, technology and the economy. This series, Global Futures in Focus, examines the intersections of the transformational forces guiding our future and that space in between where solutions can be uncovered to make the world a better place for all. 
Listen to each of the five episodes: Health, Economic, Technological, Societal and Sustainable Futures. You’ll hear from Dominic Barton alongside leading experts from the University of Waterloo on the challenges and solutions that are shaping humanity’s future.  
This is Global Futures in Focus with Dominic Barton.

Episode transcript

Dominic Barton: We are living in the most disruptive era in 200 years. Geopolitical strife, climate change and technological advancements are fundamentally changing the way we live and work. They are changing the way every organization on the planet operates. Over five episodes we’ll explore the transformative forces of play. Experts from across the University of Waterloo ecosystem will share their insights and research. They'll do so under the lens of the global futures. These guiding futures emphasize Waterloo strengths, they intersect and provide a roadmap to what's possible. Over this series we’ll seek to uncover answers to big questions that strike at the core of humanity's existence. What makes us work? How do we get to this transformative place in time? And where are we going? This is global futures in focus. And I'm Dominic Barton.

Dr. Jimmy Lin: I think the scenario of Terminator this science fiction dystopia where the robots are literally going to kill us all. I doubt that's really going to happen.

Dr. Suzanne Kearns: I think the future is going to be more turbulent. 

Dr. Anita Layton: If we never asked those questions we’d all dead by now.

Dominic Barton: In a world driven by change, and with so much happening around us today, what does the world need to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for humanity and our planet? Major crises are happening all around us and cutting across society, health, the environment, technology and the economy. The task of keeping pace in a rapidly changing world rests on the shoulders of leaders like Waterloo President ViveK Goel, Vivek and I had many discussions about what these challenges mean for the institution, and its people. These challenges or more accurately, the solutions to these challenges are at the heart of the research and scholarship he is most passionate about. Helping to pave the way to a future we imagine for humanity and the planet.

Dr. Vivek Goel: As we look to the future, we have to think about our differentiators Co Op education, entrepreneurship, impactful research, and think about with these big global challenges that we face. What is the unique role that the University of Waterloo has to play in helping to address them. We have an opportunity to do things differently based on those differentiators and this region that we're in. 

Dominic Barton: From a research and teaching perspective, the five global futures converge at the University of Waterloo. Researchers and students at Waterloo are taking on the complex challenges facing humanity. Dr. Jimmy Lin is a professor of computer science and co-director of the Waterloo center for artificial intelligence. He investigates the future of AI, and what it will mean, to the way we live and work.

Dr. Jimmy Lin: It's very important to not only be worried about the potential negatives, but also in an optimistic sense, you know, look at the tremendous opportunities, in medicine, in education, in combatting climate change and all of these huge issues that are that are ever present in our society. So, I am optimistic in the sense that I believe that AI will expand the pie. And once AI is embedded into the fabric of our economy, it will make us more productive, it will increase opportunities for the population as a whole.

Dominic Barton: As Chancellor of the University of Waterloo, I've been inspired by its collective an insatiable appetite for searching out what's next. The curiosity and creativity of Waterloo students, faculty and alumni is motivated by a desire to make a difference in the world. That desire is shaped by the global futures. This series global futures in focus examines the intersection of the transformational forces guiding our future. And that space where solutions can be uncovered to make the world a better place. At the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable aeronautics, or WISA. They're exploring innovative solutions to respond to the challenge of creating a sustainable future for the air transport sector. Aviation professor Dr. Suzanne Kearns is wiser as founding director. 

Dr. Suzanne Kearns: I feel like the all the different momentum and activity and all the research projects that are going on are really illustrative that there is not one single solution to the sustainability problem. I look at it like a like a mosaic, right that there's probably hundreds or 1000s of little points. And what we tried to do is to kind of just draw a circle around all those points and and sort of put that picture out there to say, you know, it's going to take all of us like it is all going to it's the sustainability problem is bigger than one organization, you know, one industry one country, right? It's going to take everybody working together. And I think it's all about creating a future for the next generation.

Dominic Barton: Please listen to each of our five global futures episodes. Technological, health, economic, sustainable, and societal. I hope they inspire you to make a difference in your own unique and perhaps unconventional way.