Orientation towards the common good in the digital age: Transformation narratives between planetary boundaries and artificial intelligence

Mankind is currently on an unsustainable path of development. The current environmental policy therefore aims at a transformation of the human-environmental relations in the sense of the common good. To date, the relevant transformation narratives have focused on new conditions of this kind. However, they often ignore the fact that our notions of the human condition can and, under certain circumstances, should change fundamentally in the periods under consideration. At the same time, disruptive digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or Digital Enhancement are being developed that could significantly change the human condition. This is accompanied by processes that result or could result in "fusions" of digital, material (inanimate) and biological areas. Such fusions shake traditional self-understandings of what it means to be human and to live together, what connects people with their cultural artifacts and where people stand in nature.

The project “Orientation towards the common good in the digital age: transformation narratives between planetary boundaries and artificial intelligence” analyzes and develops ethical concepts and narratives for societal change processes (transformations). It explicitly considers digital technologies with a potential to fundamentally change current relationships between humans, technology and the environment (disruptive digital technologies), especially artificial intelligence.


Sub-goals and research contents are:

  • to identify and characterize fields of digitalization that can accompany fundamental disruptive changes in human-technology-environment relationships (screening)
  • to critically review disruptive digital technology narratives, to analyze and extend perspectives of environmental ethics, especially relating to artificial intelligence (ethical ways of thinking)
  • to enter into new transformation narratives that consider disruptive digital technologies (storyboards)

The Competence Center Foresight of Fraunhofer ISI is leading the whole project. The Competence Center Emerging Technologies and the Competence Center Sustainability and Infrastructure Systems are involved in the project.


11/2018 – 06/2021


Umweltbundesamt (UBA)


  • Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Internationales Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften (IZEW)
  • Stefanie Saghri (Illustratorin)