Vol.3 No.3 2010

Interview−234−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.3 No.3 (2010) things down. In studying innovation, we decided to look at “converging technology (CT)”, which is a way of thinking about science and technology in the United States and the European Union. If this fits well in Japan, we can think of a Japanese-style converging technology. That was the starting point of the task force.What is the American-style converging technology?(Akamatsu) You mean you started from the research of converging technology, and found that it was not the goal in Japan, and you came up with the concept of “meta-engineering”?In 2002, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Commerce released the “Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance”. Since then, Europe and other areas have offered various definitions.(Suzuki) CT, as well as meta-engineering, starts with identifying what the future challenges will be and exploring what sciences and technologies will be needed for them. In the final proposal of CT, the four fields of NBIC – nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science – are said to What is meta-engineering? (Akamatsu)The Committee on Technology Policy, the Engineering Academy of Japan, set forth “meta-engineering” as a “proposal for the science and technology on which Japan should focus”. I read the proposal, and it states it is necessary “to propel radical innovation that does not stop at the application of science and technology to exposed issues”. What exactly is meta-engineering?(Suzuki)In the United States, cloud computing, smart grid, and iPod and iPad are coming out as innovations. On the other hand, while Japan is said to be extremely good at engineering, capable of making excellent products, and has competent craftsmen, not so many innovations are coming out from Japan. We intended to explore the reason at first.There are many definitions for engineering, and it is often defined as a way “to provide an optimal solution under a limited given condition”. We asked ourselves whether that definition was sufficient. We may obtain a totally different answer that may lead to innovation, if we start openly by removing the limiting conditions, not by narrowing Synthesiology Editorial BoardHiroshi Suzuki: Technology Executive, General Electric International, Inc.Motoyuki Akamatsu: Executive Editor, SynthesiologyThe Engineering Academy of Japan has the Committee on Technology Policy that proposes effective policy upon analyzing what kind of science and technology policies are necessary from the standpoint of engineering for society. Under this committee, a proposal for the science and technology on which Japan should focus was presented. Motoyuki Akamatsu, the executive editor of Synthesiology, interviewed Dr. Hiroshi Suzuki, the chair of the task force for this proposal. He discussed “meta-engineering” and the relationship to synthesiology.Meta-engineering that promotes innovation[Translation from Synthesiology, Vol.3, No.3, p.241-246 (2010)]Dr. Akamatsu (left) and Dr. Suzuki (right)


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