Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies – Gravitation programme

Project: Research

Project Details


We are now at the beginning of a new era of technological innovation in which new generations of the technologies that have emerged since the second world war are converging and undergoing widespread integration, making whole new fields possible, including artificial intelligence, robotics, synthetic biology, nanomedicine, next[1]generation genomics, neurotechnology, and geo-engineering. These are socially disruptive technologies (SDTs) that have the potential to radically alter everyday life, cultural practices, and social and economic institutions. Societal disruption may well be necessary and desirable for responding to pressing global problems such as climate change and depletion of natural resources. But the technologies also raise tough moral questions that are in need of ethical evaluation. A complication is they may affect the basic concepts and values that we normally appeal to in our ethical thinking, such as the distinction between nature and artifact or our conceptions of freedom and responsibility. A reflective turn in the ethics of technology is therefore necessary. This research program in ethics and practical philosophy of technology seeks to realize that reflective turn. Our aim is to reorient the field of ethics of technology. Specifically, we aim to develop new theories and methods that are necessary to understand, morally assess and intervene in the development and implementation of this new generation of socially disruptive technologies.

Layman's description

This philosophical research programme will develop new approaches to deal with social and ethical challenges brought about by emerging socially disruptive technologies (SDTs), like robots, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and climate technology. SDTs will change society, culture and everyday life, and also challenge some of our most basic concepts and values. We will innovate the ethics of technology so that we can critically evaluate and guide the development and introduction of these technologies.
Short titleEsdit
Effective start/end date1/01/191/04/29


  • Socially disruptive technologies
  • ethics of technology
  • philosophy of technology
  • human-technology relations
  • technology and society