Firstly, we will discuss the concept of Technology Assessment (TA). TA is the study and evaluation of new technologies. As we have seen, technological progress can never be free of ethical implications and embedded moral values. This means that with every new technology, we have to have a critical look at its potential application and commercial implementation.
TA serves as an early warning function. It gives society time to reflect upon different options (say choosing between solar and nuclear energy) and take appropriate measures. It also supports debate about new technologies by identifying points for discussion between various interested groups and organizations about the possible impacts, both negative and positive.
We will further discuss Constructive TA (CTA). CTA means that we involve the stakeholders when developing new technologies. This is based on the observation that new technologies do not just appear in a vaccuum, but instead develop as a result of a complex set of social, economic, technical, and political factors, sometimes with significant conflicting interests.
Finally, we will discuss the implications for RI. What do we have to take into account to reasonably deal with risks? What is the best approach?