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Über dieses Buch

One way to shape technology and its embedding in society in the 21st century is through the visions that guide their development, especially concerning the long-term societal perspective. A critical discussion and assessment of these visions is a prerequisite for influencing the course of development. Technology assessment, therefore, has to provide a methodological repertoire for assessing and constructing visions, taking into account the requirements for long-term orientation as well as the need for public legitimation. This volume draws upon insights from technology assessment, political sciences, epistemology, sociology and ethics. It is to contribute to the recent literature in on "shaping technology", taking into account the "co-evolution of technology and society". It connects to that technology assessment literature that emphasises TA's pro-active role and its contribution to political judgement.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Outline

Outline

Abstract
In this book, we take up the challenge of the role of technology in the first half of the 21st century, as we are supposedly entering the ‘post-industrial’, ‘trans- national’, ‘post-modern’ (and so on) society. We will assume that one way to shape socio-technological systems is through the visions that guide their development. The idea is not to create such visions bolt from the blue. Rather, the assumption is that visions exist already in most societal sectors, that these visions tend to reproduce the ways in which these sectors have developed hitherto, and that a critical discussion of these visions is a prerequisite for changing the course of development. We will ask how we can critically assess and construct visions on the ways in which technology and social problems are going to relate to each other so as to support critical discursive moments in existing recursive practices.
Michael Decker, John Grin, Armin Grunwald, Peter Mambrey, Rob Reuzel, August Tepper, Gert Jan van der Wilt

Introduction

Frontmatter

Vision Assessment to Support Shaping 21st Century Society? Technology Assessment as a Tool for Political Judgement

Abstract
This book is about ways to think, as well as on ways to think about thinking, about the future. Specifically, we will focus on the role of technology in the first half of the 2lst Century, as we are supposedly entering the ‘post-industrial,’ ‘trans-national,’ ‘post-modern’ (and so on) society. And we will ask how we can critically assess and construct visions on the ways in which technology and social problems are going to relate to each other.
John Grin

Case Studies. Technology Assessment and the Role of Visions

Frontmatter

Technology Assessment as Metaphor Assessment. Visions Guiding the Development of Information and Communications Technologies

Abstract
Multiple factors shape the development of new technologies. Very important mental factors are guiding visions (Leitbilder) and metaphors which are used to design technologies or systems. With my colleagues Michael Paetau and August Tepper, I did empirical and theoretical research based on concrete cases (Mambrey et al. 1995). It was our aim to investigate the methodological use of guiding visions and metaphors for technical design and for preventively oriented technology assessment and to suggest adequate tools. Our project combined different research arenas which were previously unconnected. It combined technology assessment (future assessment), genesis of technology (role of Leitbilder in social systems), and linguistics (construction and analysis of metaphors). Two case studies about the role of Leitbilder and metaphors in the development of the typewriter and the personal Computer demonstrated the scope of the approach as well as the predictive qualities. A survey on how members of a research and development Organization for applied information systems used and constructed metaphors were done.
Peter Mambrey, August Tepper

Technology Assessment in the Health Care Area: A Matter of Uncovering or of Covering Up?

Abstract
“Franz Vranitsky, a former Austrian Chancellor, is said to have commented that ‘anyone with visions needs to see a doctor’”, Michael Peckham, co-editor of a book entitled Clinical futures, remarks. “It is true he was referring to Europe rather than health. However if the past is anything to go by attempts to predict future changes in medicine are generally wildly inaccurate.” Slightly uncovering his own vision, Peckham argues a few sentences later that “the future must see an integration of scientific medicine within a broader framework that tackles social and other determinants of health. This is not an ‘either…or” choice but an absolute requirement if there is to be a balanced approach to health development” (Marinker and Peckham 1998, draft chapter 9).
John Grin

Bloodless War or Bloody Non-Sense? Technology Assessment’s Role in Uncovering Old Propositions behind New Airpower Concepts

Abstract
Whoever has, since the end of the Cold War, had a glance in strategie studies and military professional literature, undoubtedly has been Struck by the enormous amount of attention paid to the so-called Revolution in Political and Military Affairs (RPMA). This revolution is claimed to be a very profound one, more than, for instance, the rapid advance of airpower since the first manned flight in 1903 and its impact on warfare.
John Grin

Visions and Societal Rationality

Frontmatter

Technology Policy Between Long-Term Planning Requirements and Short-Ranged Acceptance Problems. New Challenges for Technology Assessment

Abstract
Modern societies are facing strong demands for a reliable long-term orientation of technology policy, environmental policy and science policy. These demands result, on the one hand, from the very complex nature and the extended time frame of research and development processes and, on the other hand, from the aim to realise the agenda of Sustainable Development (Kuik and Verbruggen 1992).Technology and environmental policy, however, must — in pluralistic and democratic societies — also be based on certain forms of acceptance, otherwise its success would be questioned on principle.
Armin Grunwald

Replacing Human Beings by Robots. How to Tackle that Perspective by Technology Assessment

Abstract
‘May I help you?’, a friendly voice asks politely as one enters the main entrance of the hospital. The question was asked by a five feet tall robot which focuses on you with two digital cameras. Depending on your wishes the robot leads you to the emergency admission, to the patient you want to visit, or to the administration of the hospital. On the way to the emergency admission one meets robots that serve meals and feed patients, as well as autonomous wheelchairs that transport patients to different treatment or examination rooms. After physicians have finished their examination they ask a Software system to evaluate their diagnosis. Robots also dominate operating rooms. They assist in minimal invasive surgery, bore holes with high precision, cut tissue and sew the wound again, while the surgeon is sitting in a high-tech chair like a pilot and operates the robot with a joystick. In the intensive care unit all patients are monitored by robots that record blood pressure, pulse, oxygen level in the blood, etc., and are fed with information on the treatments the patient receives. From these data the robot can generate suggestions for further treatments.
Michael Decker

Conclusions

Frontmatter

The Lessons we Learnt: First Outline of Strategy and a Methodical Repertoire for Vision Assessment

Abstract
As the introductory paper by John Grin put it, this book is about ways to think, as well as on ways to think about thinking, about the future, focusing on the relation between societal problems and technology. In particular, we have focused on the role technology assessment (TA) may play in assessing the visions that are guiding the ways in which actors, in specific sectors, shape their segment of 21st Century society through their collective actions. Specifically, the undertaking reported here was inspired by the suspicion of at least one of us that many so-called revolutionary visions for the 21st Century are, on the level of their basic assumptions, not that different from the visions that have dominated over most of the 20th Century. That is, they too reflect those assumptions that are so typical for High Modernity (see the table in section 4 of that paper). At the core are the assumptions that social progress can be obtained through sound and certain, scientific, knowledge and its application in technology; and that, therefore, society should be guided by institutions that are able to translate such knowledge into courses for action.
John Grin, Armin Grunwald, Michael Decker, Peter Mambrey, Rob Reuzel, Gert Jan van der Wilt

Backmatter

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