Greg Lucier was talking to The Open University Business School's Leslie Budd after a recording of The Bottom Line.
Greg, you run an advanced global technology business. There’s a public perception that technology should solve everything almost immediately. I wonder what your views on the complexity of technology and the problems we face.
Well, in our modern society, we have been trained to have almost instant gratification. We look at our smart phones, we have immediate communication. Media is now pervasive, 24 by 7, telling us exactly what’s going on in the world, and so there is this tendency for all of us to want immediacy, absolute answers, next day. And I think for example in our world of life sciences, there is just an expectation that can't be met when a major breakthrough is announced in biology and then ultimately the pharmaceutical or the healthcare solution gets developed, can be years separated, and so I do see the problem. And I think actually it requires more and more education of our modern people, our modern society, to understand that in certain areas, technology can't be the solution overnight - that there is a difference between discovery and its application. And so, you know, unfortunately even though we get faster and faster at that timeframe between discovery and application, I think in the world of biology it’s still going to be very, very long, and yet I think actually though the certainty of the application is ever, ever higher. And so I'm very positive though that I think these applications will be there and they will have the impact that the perhaps years earlier announcement proclaimed.
Okay, thank you. Particularly in
Well you can see the allure of trying to create a cluster. The 21st Century we think will be the life sciences century and will be the underlying technology that powers an economic revival, and so you can understand why city officials would want to create a cluster. We do live in a cluster called
Okay. And finally, do we ignore the shock of the old technologies at our peril that can actually be adapted to the new circumstances and new technologies?
I think we do. I think we’re very fascinated by the new, new thing, and yet there is just incredible technology out there that can continue to find new applications and new uses. Certainly in our world of life sciences, we have seen actually that no tool actually that allows you to understand biology really never gets obsoleted, and so they all continue to build on themselves and continue to have reinforcing kind of mechanisms. So, if you look at DNA sequencing today, incredible technology, and yet once you sequence a person, it relies on some 20 year old technologies to do even more probing and understanding of what the genes were that you just found. So I think the right combination is the new and the old really helping to solve current problems.
Greg Lucier, thank you very much.