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Arizona State University's David Guston was recently interviewed by the magazine International Innovation about the university's School for the Future of Innovation in Society.
Guston, who is the founding director of the SFIS , answered a range of topics in the Q&A that touched on everything from the school's genesis to the importance of science communication.
On that last topic he said, "There are a number of reasons: one is that innovations in information and communication technology have allowed content producers to engage in better narrowcasting and broadcasting, and so scientists and engineers can reach more appropriate and wider audiences more directly than ever before – if they have the skills to do so. But another, I like to think, is that by engaging in communication with lay publics, scientists and engineers learn a lot more about the societal aspects of their research and might generate some new ideas from such interactions about what kind of innovation the public would really like to see. Sometimes, this latter reason is cast as an unfortunate necessity, an obligation of public patronage in a democracy. I prefer to think of it as a virtue in the system."