Dr. Peterson gave a welcome and opening remarks at the Responsible Technologies Summit held on the Georgia Tech campus Nov. 10.
November 10, 2009—Today, we are at a crossroads. For the last 150 years, the United States has been a global leader in technological innovations of all kinds, innovations that have increased prosperity, improved health, and provided positive opportunities for people throughout the world. As transformational as these technologies have been, however, they nonetheless are products of what I refer to as the first technological revolution. In resolving the problems that they were intended to address, they failed to anticipate the problems that they would create—things like resource depletion, overcrowding, climate change, and environmental injustices. But knowing what we do now about how technology affects the planet, its people, and our prosperity, we realize that these things cannot be provided using the same approaches that have brought us into the 21st Century. "Green" in the U.S. and at Georgia Tech is a synonym for "innovative," and green technology represents the modern era's second technological revolution.
The intensity and rate of population growth in various regions of the world, along with the demand for energy, materials, food, and water in urban areas, warrants top priority as the world seeks solutions to population growth, climate change, and energy and resource scarcity. That's why Georgia Tech is working to position itself as the global leader in education, research, and service in the area of sustainability and resilient urban infrastructure.
Georgia Tech is helping to prepare the future workforce for this second technological revolution by developing an interdisciplinary approach to education, research and service; providing international experiences for all faculty and students; creating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship; and framing our values and mission around the principles and concepts of sustainability.
In the first technological revolution of the modern era, competition of ideas and products in the marketplace were the key to positive growth and prosperity. In the second technological revolution, competition will become less important as collaboration becomes more essential. Technology that works well, but isn't green, will be no more acceptable than technology that is green, but doesn't work well.
Our future depends upon all of us, industry, government, and universities working together to find not just a way, but to find the best way to accomplish our goals.
This morning you will have a keynote panel on regional renewable energy and energy efficiency. One of your speakers will be Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, Regents Professor at Georgia Tech and Chief Technology Officer at Suniva.
Suniva is a great example of a partnership between education, industry and government. Suniva is the Southeast's first manufacturer of solar cells. The company is using technology based on the research of Dr. Rohatgi. The company is manufacturing its ARTisun solar cells at a rate of 32 megawatts annually, which would produce enough electricity to supply about 6,300 homes. Suniva plans to triple its annual output to nearly 100 MW, and the company is continually working to improve its technology. Suniva has received significant funding over many years, from the U.S. Department of Energy, and is a shining example of how government support for research can lead to job creation. It is a strong reminder of why we should invest in research, and a powerful example of collaboration in innovation.
America's competitiveness is dependent on how we respond to, and anticipate energy needs of our society. And that is true for the Southeast as well. To win, we can't continue to just compete with each other in this area; we must develop and implement responsible technologies.
Today's Responsible Technologies Summit is a first step toward getting some of our best thought leaders together to develop sustainability solutions for the Southeast.
The idea sharing began last night at the Summit Reception. We're looking for good things to continue today, and in the weeks and months to come as we work together to explore solutions to benefit everyone.
Thank you for joining us today.