Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities
Research project

a Transdisciplinary approach to the Emerging CHallenges of NOvel technologies: Lifeworld and Imaginaries in Foresight and Ethics (Technolife)

Technolife's goal was to develop new ethical frameworks to address ethical concerns of Europeans in relation to three technological fields.

Logo Technolife

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These three fields were ICTs, Geographical Imaging Systems and converging technologies to enhance the human body.

TECHNOLIFE was funded under the EU's seventh framework program and coordinated by the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities. It had partners from the Autonomous University in Barcelona, University of Tartu, University of Manchester, Versailles University Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, University of Copenhagen, Lancaster University and the EU Commission's research centre in ISPRA.

TECHNOLIFE has developed a method to map ethical issues at early stages of S&T and policy development and to represent social imaginaries relating to these ethical issues. This method is a theoretically grounded and balanced suite of exploratory, qualitative and quantitative approaches and consists of the following steps:

1. An ethical issues scoping exercise that defines hot topics in relation to the technological fields. Hot topics are issues of concern that involve unsolved social, moral and/or political tensions and that are immature for regulatory definition and resolution.

2. A protocol for a participatory, deliberative exercise in which citizens and stakeholders discuss the hot topics. The protocol details the selection and recruitment of groups; the use of media objects (such as films) in conjunction with social media; and an online forum tool integrated with the specially designed KerTechno software.

3. An online voting system for deliberative purposes that is integrated in the KerTechno software and that allows for quantitative analysis of results.

4. A qualitative, analytical procedure that identifies the arguments, concerns, imaginaries and alternative frames of understanding elicited by the participatory exercise and defines their relation and relevance to early stages of S&T and policy development.

TECHNOLIFE has applied this method to describe ethical issues of concern to European communities (citizens and civil societies) in relation to the three technological fields of:

• ICTs and the changing configurations of public and private,
• Geographical Imaging Systems and environmental conflict, and
• Converging technologies and the future of the human body.

See the video Technolife made about Biometrics below, and check out the other videos the project produced on the Technolife debate YouTube channel.

Technolife Debate: Biometrics

Prosjektet Technolife, Senter for Vitenskapsteori (SVT).