Responsible Innovation: Ethics, Safety and Technology

There is no doubt that technological innovation is one of the key elements driving human progress. However, new technologies also raise ethical questions, have serious implications for society and the environment and pose new risks, often unknown and unknowable before the new technologies reach maturity. They may even lead to radical disruptions. Just think about robots, self-driving vehicles, medical engineering, digitalization of societies or geo-engineering to address climate change. They are strongly dependent on social acceptance and cannot escape public debates of regulation and ethics. If we want to innovate, we have to do that responsibly. We need to reflect on –and include- our societal values in this process. This course will give you the framework and tools to do so. The first part of the course focuses on ethical questions and concerns and our responsibilities with respect to new technologies. The second part deals with (unknown) risks and safety of technologies including a number of qualitative and quantitative risk assessment methods. It also addresses the need for regulation (and challenges) when it comes to emerging technologies. The last part of the course will introduce you to Value Sensitive Design, which takes into account our societal concerns and values as the starting point for innovation. The methodology – including dealing with value conflicts- will be explained. Case studies for reflection and discussions during the course include – among others- the coronavirus, nanotechnology, self-driving vehicles, care robots, AI, genomics, energy transition, climate change and geo-engineering and coolants. Affordable innovations for low-income groups and emerging markets are also covered in the course. The course is for all students who are looking for a methodical approach to judge and manage innovations and related risks from a broader – societal- perspective. We invite you to bring your own thoughts and experiences and to actively discuss them in the course.

Created by: Delft University of Technology

Level: Intermediate

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