Full course description
In the 1960s, Technology Assessments (TA) came into being as a way of assessing the risks of innovation and averting undesirable consequences of new technologies. Even though it is impossible to map out every possible consequence in advance, TAs provide greater insight into the impact and effects of technology.
For a long time, TAs focused on the hard impact of technology, such as environmental harm and health and safety risks. Yet, recently, the ethical (‘soft’) impacts of new and emerging technology such as privacy have gradually received more attention. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for instance, includes Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).
In this course, you will be introduced to different forms of TA. In specific, focus lies on three TA frameworks, that will be studied in-depth: Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), Constructive TA, and Ethical TA. The assessment consists of two individual mini essays (i.e., apply a TA framework to a digital and emerging technology, and the other way around), a group presentation, and a group paper that focuses on the TA of a new and emerging technology of your subgroup’s choice.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Explain/Understand how modern societies and academic disciplines have approached technological risk and uncertainty.
- Explain/Understand key theories, concepts, and approaches to technology assessment, as well as the similarities and differences between them.
- Identify an appropriate form of technology assessment for a given emerging digital technology.
- Apply these technology assessment frameworks to emerging digital technologies.
- Produce a professional collaborative report that assesses an emerging digital technology using a technology assessment framework.
- A.S. Richterich