Anticipating the interaction between technology and morality: A techno-ethical scenario study of experimenting with humans in bionanotechnology

Marianne Boenink, Tsjalling Swierstra, Dirk Stemerding

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    79 Citations (Scopus)
    105 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    During the last decades several tools have been developed to anticipate the future impact of new and emerging technologies. Many of these focus on 'hard', quantifiable impacts, investigating how novel technologies may affect health, environment and safety. Much less attention is paid to what might be called 'soft' impacts: the way technology influences, for example, the distribution of social roles and responsibilities, moral norms and values, or identities. Several types of technology assessment and of scenario studies can be used to anticipate such soft impacts. We argue, however, that these methods do not recognize the dynamic character of morality and its interaction with technology. As a result, they miss an important opportunity to broaden the scope of social and political deliberation on new and emerging technologies.In this paper we outline a framework for building scenarios that enhance the techno-moral imagination by anticipating how technology, morality and their interaction might evolve. To show what kind of product might result from this framework, a scenario is presented as an exemplar. This scenario focuses on developments in biomedical nanotechnology and the moral regime of experimenting with human beings. Finally, the merits and limitations of our framework and the resulting type of scenarios are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-38
    Number of pages38
    JournalStudies in ethics, law, and technology
    Volume4
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • Scenario
    • Technology
    • Morality
    • Ethics
    • Future
    • Bionanotechnology
    • Experimenting with human beings

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Anticipating the interaction between technology and morality: A techno-ethical scenario study of experimenting with humans in bionanotechnology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this