Using four exemplary areas of technology, the focus of TAB Brief No. 39 takes up aspects of the political and social perception and discussion of technology-related hopes and fears. It is a contribution to the upcoming conference of the Network of Parliamentary TA Institutions (EPTA) in Berlin on the topic of "Hope, Hype and Fear Technologies".
Far-reaching scientific and technological visions are on the upswing. They promise to solve major problems such as the climate change or energy supply and to fulfil the ancient dreams of mankind such as decelerating or even eliminating the ageing process or creating artificial life. What initially sounds like earthly impressions of paradise may induce unease, concern and fear at the same time. The historical experience with regard to technology suggests to assume that ambivalences and risks cannot be avoided and that these might be bigger, the more extensive the technological interventions in nature and society will be and the more rapidly they will be made. The gap between hopes and expectations regarding progress on the one hand and concern and fears on the other hand is getting larger and larger and the waves of corresponding hope, hype and fear technologies come in rapid succession. ... mehrThis situation is a challenge both for social debates and for political decisions, e.g. research promotion and funding, and thus represents a topic of technology assessment – an example of topics this »TAB-Brief« is focusing on.