To Infinity and Beyond
The 2018 title of the festival will be ‘To Infinity and Beyond’. BredaPhoto wants to know more about the possibilities and impact of ongoing progress in technology and science. Will it bring nothing but progress? Or are we at risk of opening a Pandora’s box full of unwelcome surprises?
Photographers will show the opportunities, dangers and dilemmas. They can show us what’s happening in front of our eyes, or take the liberty to make a careful prediction of what might happen next.
Breakthrough upon breakthrough
People have been changing the planet since we’ve been walking the Earth. When we started growing our own food thousands of years ago, it wasn’t long before we started crossing seeds and fruits to improve their taste, size and resistance to diseases. Compare a corncob, grain stalk or carrot to the ‘originals’, and you won’t recognize them. We have domesticated wild wolves and bred such diverse contemporary species as the Pekinese and the German shepherd. We have shifted rivers, drained seas and drilled kilometers-long tunnels through mountains. We have conquered diseases that used to claim millions of lives.
To Infinity and Beyond
And our grip on the world keeps increasing. Recent scientific breakthroughs have been made into the very foundations of our lives. Researchers are cracking ‘the code of life’, and big strides are being made in automation and in artificial intelligence. Optimistic scientists predict that cancer, malaria and even old age can be cured. Faster and smarter computers will help us tackle complex questions and take work out of our hands. Thanks to revolutionary CRISPR gene-technology, we may become immortal. The first person who will become a thousand years old has probably already been born.
We used to pray to gods to save us from sickness, hunger and catastrophe. Today, we have become the most important force influencing (and endangering) life on the planet. Some people even say we’re living in an entire new epoch: the anthropocene, an age defined by humankind as the main agent of change on this planet.
BredaPhoto wants to know more about the possibilities and impact of ongoing progress in technology and science. What if robots can make our lives easier but can also create mass unemployment and more inequality. And could terrorists discover the possibilities of gene editing? If you can alter mosquito’s genes to take out malaria, you can also alter them to carry a new sort of virus. A high intelligence official in the United States has already labeled gene editing as ‘a potential weapon of mass destruction’.
Technological progress also raises the inevitable question of ownership and assessment. Who assesses the opportunities and risks of a new invention that affects us all? And who decides what to do with it? Should scientists, whether they work for universities or companies, or Silicon Valley CEOs, be the only ones to decide what’s good for us? Or do we need some sort of independent or democratic control? Curious about the whole story behind the new theme for 2018? Read the theme brochure here: To Infinity and Beyond.