The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s roads a D rating. But a recent study shows that trying to raise that grade without accounting for climate change could put the country’s roadways at risk.
No one expects the machinery of progress to roll backwards, but sometimes it seems that no one is watching the speedometer (or manning the brakes, assuming any exist). Is this a fair assessment? If so, should we be worried — and what can we do about it?
In this feature, experts on technology, risk, science, policy and neuroscience discuss risk, innovation and how our values affect our conceptions of both.
4-D printing remains in its early stages, It’s certainly too early to tell if it’s anything more than a buzzword, let alone if its promise will translate into practicality. But the sorts of people who bet on these kinds of things are betting on it.
And why not? Suppose a structure could unfold itself, like origami. Imagine if walls could flex or stiffen in response to shifting loads, or if a buried pipe could change shape to accommodate varying water flows — or to pump water via peristalsis, like your digestive system. Through 4-D printing, nothing is set in stone unless you want it to be.