Technikfolgenabschätzung von soziotechnischen Zukünften

Andreas Lösch, Knud Böhle, Christopher Coenen, Paulina Dobroc, Arianna Ferrari, Reinhard Heil, Dirk Hommrich, Martin Sand, Christoph Schneider, Kornelia Elke Konrad

Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademic

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Problem: Visions of technology, future scenarios, guiding visions (Leitbilder) represent imaginations of future states of affairs that play a functional role in processes of technological research, development and innovation – e.g. as a means to create attention, communication, coordination or for the strategic exertion of influence. Since a couple of years there is a growing attention for such imaginations of futures in politics, the economy, research and civil society. This trend concerns Technology Assessment (TA) as an observer of these processes and a consultant on the consequences of technology and innovation. TA faces increasing demands to assess imaginations of futures that circulate in the present and to participate in shaping these through scenarios or foresight. More than ever, this raises the question, which propositions can be made based on these imaginations by TA and how this can be used in advisory practices. Imaginations of futures are relevant for TA not as predictions but in their significance and effectiveness in the present, which need to be understood and assessed.

Contents: This discussion paper outlines how present significance and effects of imagined futures in technological research and innovation processes can be conceived of and analyzed. In this paper, all forms of imaginations of technology futures will be called ‘sociotechnical futures’ because technological developments and social changes are interwoven through them. In this paper we discuss (1) why TA should analyze sociotechnical futures, (2) how such analyzes can grasp the societal conditions (e.g. power structures) that are expressed in the imagined futures and how these become effective in processes of technology development, communication, decision making etc. We raise the question (3) which self-reflexive positioning or possible realignment of TA is needed because of the increased concern with assessing and even co-producing sociotechnical futures by TA. The latter is often demanded regarding the increasing attention by politics and publics to imaginations of futures with wide temporal and spatial reach
Original languageGerman
Place of PublicationKarlsruhe
PublisherKarlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Institut für Technikzukünfte (ITZ)
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameDiskussionspapiere Institut für Technikzukünfte
PublisherKarlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Institut für Technikzukünfte (ITZ)
No.Nr. 03

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