Tech future, human rights

The need for digital and STEM literacy

Featured in

  • Published 20220127
  • ISBN: 978-1-92221-65-8
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IT SEEMS AS if we’re experiencing unending crises, rolling over us at such pace that we can’t catch our breath before the next one hits. Bushfires so large they create their own storm systems; pandemics of global proportions; the climate emergency, which threatens consequences worse than we’ve ever witnessed. But one thing can (and does) assist us to curate hope: our combined knowledge and intellectual power as the species Homo sapiens. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM, collectively) have been revered, but also often placed in ivory towers so as to equate them with superpowers derived from radioactive spider bites rather than accessible, egalitarian, well- paid and exciting areas of study.

In STEM we trust. Or so we thought. The rise of conspiracy theorists on social media – be they anti-vaxxers, short-Earthers, flat-Earthers or Holocaust deniers (still) – all point to a worrying increase in the noise and attacks made by anti-science protagonists. And it’s not just those influencers attacking, misinterpreting, undermining or ignoring people with PhDs and expertise: senior public and political figures have launched major attacks against listen- ing to the advice of ‘experts’ over recent years.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

About the author

Catherine Ball

Catherine Ball is an associate professor at the Australian National University School of Engineering. She is a scientific futurist, tech influencer, champion of diversity and...

More from this edition

Compulsory wellbeing

EssaySUCH GREAT PAY and all those holidays. Plus you only work from nine ’til three…is often the response a teacher receives when they say...

University material

FictionJEFFREY AND MY mother were together for three years. I lived with them for their final year, when I was sixteen. Before that I...

Remaking universities

EssayCAN WE GRIEVE not for a person but for an institution? Should we be angry over possibilities destroyed, young talents denied a chance to...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.