Explore some of the more thought-provoking opinions and lively debates among contributors to our Perspectives section over the past year.
As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to look back at some of the technological innovations and global challenges that sparked discussion and debate among thought leaders around the world — including on GE Reports.
In the Perspectives section, we featured the opinions of dozens of leaders from across industry, government, academia and the nonprofit world. We explored everything from the impact of trade and globalization, the future of work and industry, the challenges of achieving sustainable energy and water policies, and the promise and peril of artificial intelligence and cyborg technology. And the new debate platform fostered lively discussions around such timely topics as how technology is impacting humans, how the Internet of Things will evolve, and what role natural gas should play in a low-emissions energy future.
Here are 15 of the top Perspectives of 2015:
1. Jeffrey R. Immelt: The Importance of Growth
U.S. businesses are fighting an economic war for exports, says Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE. We need market access and tools to compete and win. (Image: Thinkstock)
2. Amb. Michael Froman: If We Don’t Write the Rules of the Global Economy, Others Will
America is at a crossroads in the world economy, says Michael Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative. If we don’t take the lead in writing the economic rules of the road through trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), other countries will. (Image: David Teran)
3. Dr. Tom Frieden: Protecting the World from the Next Pandemic
It wasn’t just luck that the Ebola epidemic didn’t spread once it reached Lagos, says Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here’s what other countries can learn from Nigeria’s effective response. (Image: CDC)
4. Marco Annunziata: The Industrial App Economy Is Ready for Its Download
The industrial app economy will spur innovation by enabling a more seamless environment for people and machines to work smarter and more efficiently together, says Marco Annunziata, chief economist and executive director of Global Market Insight at GE. (GIF: GE)
5. Steve Bolze: Investing in the Future of Electricity
The world is in the midst of a major power shift, says Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power & Water and co-Chair of the WEF Energy Utilities & Energy Technology community. Not political power, but actual electricity power being generated by an increasingly diverse and distributed range of sources — from natural gas to renewables. (GIF: GE)
6. Debate: What Role Should Natural Gas Play in Improving Access to Energy?
In a debate over the role of natural gas in improving access to energy for all, Charles McConnell, executive director of the Rice University Energy and Environment Initiative, argues that while renewable energy is important, natural gas is the key to improving access and sustainability. However, John Rogers, senior analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says that while gas may have a supporting role to play in our transition to a low-carbon energy future, renewables and efficiency are the real stars. (Image: Getty Images)
7. Debate: Is Africa Still Rising?
There has been much talk of late about Africa's growth potential. In the latest Perspectives debate, we consider Is Africa Still Rising? On one side, Simon Freemantle, senior political economist at Standard Bank, considers five elements investors should examine to assess whether growth across African markets is sustainable. On the other side, Alex Vines, head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, urges us to "look westward" in Africa. (Image: Getty Images)
8. Debate: Are We Headed for One Internet of Things — Or Many?
In this debate over the future of the Internet of Things, Richard Soley, executive director of the Industrial Internet Consortium, says industrial machines equipped with advanced analytics have the potential to transform economic growth and innovation — if they can work together. But Jared Weiner, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of The Future Hunters, argues that despite the promise of the Internet of Things to redefine how we interact with the things around us, the reality may be closer to many competing Intranets of Things — each with its own network of users and products. (Image: Thinkstock)
9. Debate: Will the Integration of Robotics and People Create More Social Inequality?
In this debate, Amal Graafstra, founder and CEO of Dangerous Things, argues that instead of fearing cyborgs such as himself, we should be working toward a future when everyone has access to human-enhancing technologies. James J. Hughes, executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, counters that robotics may promise to enhance human capabilities beyond our imagination, but for whom? (Image: Thinkstock)
10. Debate: Is Technology Making Us Less Human?
In this debate, L. Mark Carrier, co-founder and co-director of George Marsh Applied Cognition Laboratory, argues for a new set of social norms for the Internet era to prevent online interactions from doing more harm than good. On the other side, Steve Gullans, managing director at Excel Venture Management, says the pace of innovation may be accelerating, but our ability to adapt to the latest technologies remains undeterred. (Image: Thinkstock)
11. 3D Printing the Soul and Other Ideas From the Final Frontier — Q&A with Adam Steltzner of NASA
The Industrial Internet faces perhaps it’s biggest challenge in space — though also some of the greatest opportunities for breakthroughs in machine-to-machine communication and Big Data analytics, says Adam Steltzner, a fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Chief Engineer of Mars2020. (GIF: NASA)
12. Aneesh Chopra: Startup Government
Beneath the noise of the Obamacare rollout, a quiet revolution was taking place in how government delivers digital services, says Aneesh Chopra, co-founder & executive vice president of Hunch Analytics. (Image: Thinkstock)
13. Driving a 3D-Printed Car Through Manufacturing — Q&A with Jay Rogers of Local Motors
From micro-manufacturing and co-creation to the first 3D-printed car, Jay Rogers, CEO and co-founder of Local Motors, is remaking the manufacturing process. (GIF: Local Motors)
14. Jim Lawton: When Humans and Robots Work Together
When you hear about innovative technological advances that are reshaping industries, chances are you aren’t thinking about a factory floor. Not much has changed there since the first industrial robots were deployed in the 1960s — until now. Jim Lawton, chief product and marketing officer at Rethink Robotics dishes on a new category of automation: collaborative robotics. (GIF: Rethink Robotics)
15. Freya Williams: 6 Reasons Why Green Is the New Black
Freya Williams, CEO, North America for Futerra, has spent a lot of time compiling evidence that brands can both maximize profit and be a force for social good. So what is the business case for sustainability? The answer: a $9 burrito. (GIF: GE)