Technological progress – for instance in transport, medicine, energy or information technologies – is usually associated with ambivalent consequences for the economy and society. The miniaturization of sensors, for example, and their interconnection via computer networks permits many new applications and business models, but could also represent an undesirable surveillance infrastructure – with numerous implications for data protection and privacy.
Given this backdrop, there is a growing need for orientation based on knowledge about the opportunities and risks, intended and unintended impacts, as well as societal needs and the acceptability of future technological developments.
Technology Assessment (TA) helps to identify problems in good time and answer questions related to technology and mechanization. In order to support socially desirable socio-technical developments, orientation knowledge is generated for processes of public opinion formation and for political decision processes. This knowledge is created by analyzing technology impacts and societal needs and the compatibility of these needs and technical solutions as early as possible using a multi-perspective and interdisciplinary approach.