Ethics of Technology

  Copyright: Manuel Gomez Dardenne  

The tasks of modern research and production technology of the future are not only comprised of adapting to increasingly networked and cross-border innovation, but also of recognizing the social, ethical and environmental responsibility of research.

At RWTH's Human Technology Center (HumTec), which started out as a project house of the Excellence Initiative, interdisciplinary teams conduct their research at the interfaces of classical research fields. The humanities and social sciences as well as engineering and life sciences work together in researching how the vision of an integrated interdisciplinary technical university can be realized. The project house unites five professorships, which lay their focus on the interaction between technology, natural sciences and humans/societies, examining how responsible action in a technological context can be achieved.

The Chair of Applied Ethics with a Focus on the Ethics of Technology and Environmental Ethics , held by Prof. Saskia Nagel, deals with approaches to solving individual and social challenges in a technological culture and explores the complex relationship between human ethics and technical possibilities. The team’s endeavor focuses on clarifying when technical developments should be subjected to an ethical review and for what reasons and to what extend certain technical options should be regulated.

Particularly, the spheres of human-machine interactions which are currently emerging topics, the privacy question in dealing with machine data or the question of how innovative and new technologies can be developed in such a way that they promote human well-being, are areas to which the institute is dedicated. Important questions that will shape and influence our handling of the technology of the future are researched at HumTec.

Four other professorships, Individual and Technology (Professor Astrid Rosenthal- von der Pütten), Computational Social Sciences and Humanities (Prof. Markus Strohmaier), Technology and Society (Professor Stefan Böschen) and Philosophy of Science and Technology (Professor Gabriele Gramelsberger) are tasked with exploring our relationship with technology.