Engaging with a Scientific Community: Converging Technologies as an Issue for the Social Sciences and Humanities
24 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2014
Date Written: July 1, 2012
Novel application fields at the interstices between nanoscience, biotechnology, cognitive science and Computer Sciences collected under the new umbrella term “Converging Technologies” raised public and political awareness. Efforts have been made to further strengthen interdisciplinary research in some of these respective fields. Nevertheless, it is unclear as to whether these technologies can be shaped and regulated, given their far reaching social and ethical implications (Nordmann 2007; Grunwald 2007; Hogle 2005). In this paper we dealt with the role of the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in the debate on Converging Technologies. It is based on results of a European Collaborative Project called “Converging Technologies and their Impact on the Social Sciences and Humanities” (EU-CONTECS). In the first section we presented the concept and the origin of the debate on Converging Technologies, highlighting their visionary character. In order to reflect about the role of the Social Sciences in the debate, we applied the approach of Constructive Technology Assessment (Schot & Rip 1997) as an analytical strategy. Thirdly, we concluded by relating results from workshops and present a research agenda for the Social Sciences and Humanities in Converging Technologies, answering the question how far SSH has come in the debate.
Keywords: Converging Technologies, Human Enhancement, Constructive Technology Assessment, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Agenda
JEL Classification: O33, M14
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