Blockchain Technology: Implications for Development

A new research paper has been posted in the Risk Innovation Lab on the implications of blockchain technologies on development:

Blockchain Technology: Implications for Development
Author: Kevin Johnson


Blockchain technology is being explored in several places around the world to solve problems and make systems of record more efficient. This paper outlines and provides a review of blockchain technology and includes potential implications for international development in private, government, and non-profit sectors. This research defines blockchain and other terms important to an understanding of the technology, discusses how blockchain is currently being applied, how it might be applied, explains how the technology works, reviews Hyperledger as a potential platform for use in a development context, supplies an example of how the technology might be used in a solar power grid, and provides concluding thoughts as to the positive and negative effects of implementing blockchain technology in the developing world.

The full research paper is downloadable here

Risk and Amelia Earhart

Andrew Maynard was recently a guest on the Big Picture Science podcast with Seth Shostak, talking about risk in the context of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance in 1937.

Big Picture Science – Amelia Earhart: Andrew Maynard / Inescapable Uncertainty

You can listen to the whole podcast here – Andrew’s portion starts at around minute 42:30

Science Showcase – a new approach to communicating science through video

The Risk Innovation Lab has launched a new initiative aimed at providing researchers with a platform for publishing short, engaging and informative videos about the work they do.

Science Showcase is a YouTube channel designed to connect researchers with casual learners through the medium of video:

You can read more about the initiative here, and follow us on YouTube and on Twitter

Q&A with Diana Bowman on responsible brain research and tech

Risk Innovation Lab Fellow Diana Bowman was interviewed by ASU Now on a workshop on ethical and responsible development of brain technologies. The workshop, co-organized by Bowman, was led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and hosted in Washington DC by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

Read the full interview here.

Science and the human brain: How far is too far?
ASU professor helps international think-tank organize event to tackle this and other ethical questions
ASU Now, September 15 2015

Link to full article

The complex ethics of emerging brain technologies

There’s a new “Edge of Innovation” column up on the responsible development of emerging brain technologies, over at The Conversation:

Considering ethics now before radically new brain technologies get away from us

Andrew Maynard
The Conversation, Sept 14 2016
Link to article

Imagine infusing thousands of wireless devices into your brain, and using them to both monitor its activity and directly influence its actions. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, and for the moment it still is – but possibly not for long.

Brain research is on a roll at the moment. And as it converges with advances in science and technology more broadly, it’s transforming what we are likely to be able to achieve in the near future.

Spurring the field on is the promise of more effective treatments for debilitating neurological and psychological disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and depression. But new brain technologies will increasingly have the potential to alter how someone thinks, feels, behaves and even perceives themselves and others around them – and not necessarily in ways that are within their control or with their consent.

This is where things begin to get ethically uncomfortable.

Read more at The Conversation

Apple’s wireless headphones and beyond

Risk Innovation Lab Fellow Michael Bennett has an interview on technology and the future on ASU’s news site ASU Now. The interview tees off with Apple’s new iPhone 7 – especially the move to go fully wireless – and moves on from there:

Unplugging into the future

Michel Bennett


Michael Bennett, an associate research professor in ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, says Apple isn’t breaking new ground with its wireless headphones. But its beefier cameras? That’s a different story…

Read the full article here.

Welcome to the ASU Risk Innovation Lab website!

I’m really excited to announce that the new ASU Risk Innovation Lab website is now fully live and public at it’s new ASU address:

Take a look around – to get started, check out the projects we’re engaged in (either on the projects page, or from the drop-down Topics menu above), the people involved with the Lab, and what we’re all about.

You can also get regular updates on what we’re doing here in the Risk Innovation Lab Book.

Please bookmark us, spread the word, check back regularly, and of course, get in touch if you’re interested in working with us.


Andrew Maynard
Director, Risk Innovation Lab