It’s never been more clear that the fate of nations can turn on how much trust the public and political leaders place in science. The US president fell ill with the same virus that has now killed more than 200,000 Americans, after ignoring public health precautions and downplaying scientists' warnings about COVID-19.
Yet the pandemic is just the most urgent example of a broader need to restore trust between scientists, policymakers, and citizens in an era when artificial intelligence, climate change, and genetic engineering present the world with new opportunities and dilemmas. A generation of technologists and scientists are now called upon to make sure that evidence plays a role in establishing policy and political truth – and that the benefits of science are shared widely. The general public must be broadly engaged in decisions that will shape the future.
Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and former Obama science adviser, joins Globe editorial page editor Bina Venkataraman for a discussion on how to renew the compact between science and society, what’s at stake in the coming election, and how to navigate the road ahead as a citizen of this brave new planet.
This Op-Talk was recorded on Oct. 13, 2020 and may contain out of date information.