We're doing our best to make sure that the business infrastructure is in place to grow the FTSE 100 space companies of tomorrow.
David Willetts, Science minister
Science minister David Willetts has contributed to a new report on the future of technology.
The report, "Future Risk: How technology could make or break our world", is the fourth in a series celebrating the Chartered Insurance Institute's (CII) centenary year as a chartered professional body.
It covers a wide range of future scenarios including the development of 'nanomaterials', undersea mining and 3D printing.
Mr Willetts said that the UK's future "as a space-faring nation is a natural follow-on from our role as a sea-faring nation".
"We're doing our best to make sure that the business infrastructure is in place to grow the FTSE 100 space companies of tomorrow," he said.
"That includes changing the Outer Space Act by introducing an upper limit on liability for UK operators, developing the right insurance infrastructure for space activities and investing to open up new markets."
Other contributions to the report consider types of innovative industries in which the UK can build a strong competitive advantage, the risk of 'cascade failure' in large IT systems and reliability of decisions based solely on computational models.
From the arguments put forward, three possible scenarios are deduced, offering very different futures based on a sliding scale of risk and opportunity.
Ben Franklin, CII's policy and research manager, said:
"Navigating our way successfully through the technological future will be a careful balancing act for society and the insurance sector. Understanding the risks attached to technology, supporting progress by investing in innovation and pricing insurance products accordingly, will allow the profession to take advantage of these opportunities.
"Insurers need to be mindful that even the most advanced computational models may not be sufficient to understand and prepare for some of the future risks facing the industry. To prepare for some of the 'black swans' that may lurk ahead, human judgement based on a qualitative understanding of the world and combined with a rigorous appreciation of reliable empirical evidence will be critical to success. In this respect, technology can only take us so far."