Evolving Securities Initiative - ESI Highlights

23 Dec 2019
23 Dec 2019


This edition of the ESI Highlights explores the re-imaginings that ESI members are undertaking, their efforts in reshaping responses to new harmscapes and what spurs them on in their quest - be it an out-of-the-box podcast or a book worth re-reading.


2019 has been a year filled with many expected 'unexpected' events, including from where this introduction is written, the continuing devastating fires in Australia. Expected by the front-line first responders (see former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins article) and 'unexpected' by prominent politicians as their responses remain unchanged in the face of mounting evidence (linking the ferocity and the unpredictability of the fires to climate change) coupled with ash-laden skies and unbearable heat.

Resilience in the face of 'unexpected' harms calls for new responses, responses built upon a different set of framings, perspectives and questions. However, new responses are harder to come by as we are browbeaten by repeated 'news' of inaction. 

Hope you all have a safe and wonderful festive season. Until next year!
ESI reading!

Hin Wah Li



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Tell us about your work interests?

As a sociologist, I am interested in the governance of security of flows (information, goods, people, …) on the one hand and in evolutions in the area of innovation, technology and security. To get a grip on these issues I do qualitative empirical research in which knowledge exchange between academics and practitioners is at the core of my research activities.

Can you suggest a book or article that you’d consider re-reading?

The book from Peter Hinssen ‘The Day after Tomorrow, how to survive in times of radical innovation’ is one I reconsider to read again. Referring to his website, Peter writes about an exponentially changing world and its consequences for organizations of Today. He introduces those pioneers who managed to move (way) beyond Tomorrow-thinking in innovation and were able to change the course of entire industries. Above all, he writes about the business models, the organizational structures, the talent, the mindset, the technologies and the cultures needed to maximize our chances for survival in the Day After Tomorrow. There is more on Peter and his books on https://www.peterhinssen.com

Any standout podcasts or shows on the various platforms you’d recommend to our listeners?

I like the BBC documentaries available on their website as they investigate a diversity of global developments, issues and affairs that feed my general interest in the world and contextualise my interest in the governance of security. I particularly liked the one on ‘China: the new world order’.

Looking back at 2019 what happened (if anything) that you didn’t predict, or to put it another way, that surprised you?  And can you say a little about why it surprised you.

The speed of technological evolutions, or revolutions depending on how you look at it, keeps on surprising me. It doesn’t seem to slow down but on the contrary, I see accelerations in the development and applications of technology. The application of facial recognition in all aspects of daily life in China for example. The speed triggers my concern in relations to ethics and privacy.
I was also surprised and very happy with the impressive initiatives led by the youth in raising their voice in the debate on climate change. It is comforting to see that there is power in the next generation. 

Looking ahead, in 2020, where do you see the biggest shift happening in your area of interest?

In relation to the Techno-Human I expect a big shift in terms of how we define what a human being is given how intertwined and dependent we are to technology; how we are connected to each other through technology and how we are connected to technology as such - from mobile devices and robots. 

I think this sociological shift in our society will have a huge impact on safety and security issues and needs to be addressed today rather than tomorrow.