Fact-checking technology from a sceptical perspective


When there are news items and debates relating to a complex technology, it is common for the scientists involved to be pro-technology, and it can be hard to find someone with a scientific background who can give a sceptical perspective. This is particularly important with technologies that have “Black Swan” effects: very rare but extremely serious side effects. Examples of these technologies include nuclear reactors, genetic manipulation (GM) and nanotechnology.

Stuart Field became involved in alternatives after his experiences back in the 1980s with biotechnology research before going to university and nuclear power research as a sponsored student. He once worked as an editor of a newsletter providing fact-checked news stories on nuclear issues for campaigners against nuclear power.

He helped out BBC Newsnight and The Guardian with some fact-checking on the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power station following the earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan. In these cases, he provided his services for free as they involved checking a limited number of specific technical issues. For more in-depth work, Alternative Choices charges a reasonable hourly or day rate, with discounts available for not-for-profit organisations.

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