Irresponsible Research and Innovation? Applying Findings from Neuroscience to Analysis of Unsustainable Hype Cycles

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    Abstract

    The introduction of technological innovations is often associated with suboptimal decisions and actions during cycles of inflated expectations, disappointment, and unintended negative consequences. For brevity, these can be referred to as hype cycles. Hitherto, studies have reported hype cycles for many different technologies, and studies have proposed different methods for improving the introduction of technological innovations. Yet hype cycles persist, despite suboptimal outcomes being widely reported and despite methods being available to improve outcomes. In this communication paper, findings from exploratory research are reported, which introduce new directions for addressing hype cycles. Through reference to neuroscience studies, it is explained that the behavior of some adults in hype cycles can be analogous to that of irresponsible behavior among adolescents. In particular, there is heightened responsiveness to peer presence and potential rewards. Accordingly, it is argued that methods applied successfully to reduce irresponsible behavior among adolescents are relevant to addressing hype cycles, and to facilitating more responsible research and innovation. The unsustainability of hype cycles is considered in relation to hype about artificial intelligence (AI). In particular, the potential for human-beneficial AI to have the unintended negative consequence of being fatally unbeneficial to everything else in the geosphere other than human beings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3472
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    Number of pages16
    JournalSustainability
    Volume10
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2018
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible

    Keywords

    • artificial intelligence (AI)
    • hype cycles
    • informational conformity
    • normative conformity
    • outgroup derogation
    • reality distortion field; responsible research and innovation; sustainability; technological innovation; unintended consequences
    • reality distortion field
    • responsible research and innovation
    • sustainability; technological innovation; unintended consequences
    • sustainability
    • technological innovation
    • unintended consequences

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