Not logged in.

Contribution Details

Type Conference Presentation
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Technologies, Resources, and Substitution: An Approach to Support the Discourse on Technological Innovations with a Focus on Sustainability
Organization Unit
  • Lorenz Hilty
  • Ariane Lubberger
  • Benoit Otjacques
  • Patrick Hitzelberger
  • Stefan Naumann
  • Volker Wohlgemuth
Presentation Type paper
Item Subtype Original Work
Refereed Yes
Status Published in final form
  • English
Publisher Shaker
ISBN 978-3-8440-5495-8
Series Name EnviroInfo
Page Range 169 - 172
Event Title EnviroInfo 2017
Event Type conference
Event Location Luxembourg
Event Start Date September 13 - 2017
Event End Date September 15 - 2017
Abstract Text Technological innovations usually have implications for society at large. Technology Assessment (TA) is a process that aims to contribute to the formation of public and political opinion on societal aspects of technology. In TA studies, potential technological impacts are predicted – very often in the form of what-if scenarios – and then evaluated for their desirability or undesirability by the participants of the study. Both steps, prediction and evaluation, usually lead to controversies. For example, when the cellular networks were built and the mobile phone became popular, there was a debate about potential health impacts of the non-ionizing radiation emitted by the phones and the base station antennas. Predicting the induced health risk is different from evaluating it; even if we assume a certain non-zero additional cancer risk, for example, we could still argue that this were acceptable compared to an assumed potential benefit of the technology. Both predicting and evaluating potential impacts needs some form of discourse to build consensus. This is imperative for the evaluation phase because evaluation involves values, in this case the value of health and the value of other opportunities which are traded against it. Every normative statement that somebody contributes to a discussion (i.e., a judgment about whether a situation is desirable or undesirable) is based on personal values. It is therefore important to find discursive forms of TA that support the elicitation and discussion of the subjective values that may be hidden behind diverging opinions on the technological innovations. The aim of our research is to find better ways to separate descriptive from normative statements in discussions about technological innovation, to elicit the values behind, and to support ethical reflection where dilemmas emerge. By this approach, we want to contribute to the methodology of discursive TA.
Official URL
PDF File Download
Export BibTeX