Background work > Science and innovation

Does 3D printing affect the environment?

With exciting new technologies, the next production revolution also presents new challenges. How does 3D printing affect the environment and how can governments respond?

>> See also: Chapter on 3D printing and its environmental implications in the publication The Next Production Revolution: Implications for Governments and Business

Future technology trends

In the 2016 OECD Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Outlook, an entire chapter is devoted to future technology trends. It discusses ten key or emerging technologies that are among the most promising yet potentially disruptive, and some possible socio-economic impacts and related policy issues.

The technologies considered are:

Common themes across these technologies are also highlighted.

>> See also: The STI e-Outlook, an interactive portal providing full open access to the qualitative and quantitative information collected during the production of the 2016 OECD STI Outlook, including policy and country profiles.

The next production revolution

Technological development will inevitably disrupt today’s industries, and incumbent firms will be challenged as new technologies redefine the terms of competitive success. The precise pace and scale of future adjustments are unknown. But resilience and prosperity will be more likely in countries with forward-looking policies, better functioning institutions, better educated and informed citizens, and critical technological capabilities in a number of sectors.

The Next Production Revolution: Implications for Government and Business examines the opportunities and challenges, for business and government, associated with technologies bringing about the “next production revolution”. The technologies considered in this report, from information and communication technologies and robots to new materials, have more to contribute to productivity than they currently do. Often, their use is predominantly in larger firms. And even in those firms, many potential applications are underused.

The rise of nanotechnology

From sunscreen to car tyres, what are the savings and costs, and the challenges and benefits of nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology holds great potential to improve lives. It is already revolutionising the way we produce electronic goods, tyres, clothes and medicines but we need strong leadership from governments to make sure investment in research and development (R&D) is supporting future advances and that safety and human health concerns are addressed.

>> See also: Chapter on Tapping nanotechnology's potential to shape the next production revolution in the report The Next Production Revolution: Implications for Governments and Business.

Empowering society with science and technology

Empowering society to innovate means encourgaing participation in the digital economy. The OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015 features a full section with data and indicators allowing for country comparisons on numerous key aspects of empowering society with science and technology:

  • enabling connectivity
  • online devices and apps
  • digital natives
  • Internet users
  • user sophistication
  • e-consumers across borders
  • e-government use
  • R&D for social challenges
  • enabling technologies
  • public perceptions of science and technology