International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)

Research Focus Technology Ethics

Technology is not only the result of scientific progress and advances in the field of engineering. Rather, the research focus Technology Ethics highlights that technology and society influence, constitute and shape each other. From this perspective, the development of new technologies is a social process for which also empirical assumptions about social realities, conceptions of humanity and concepts of a “good life” also play a vital role. Furthermore, the use of technology is an active, at times even resistive process of appropriation taking place within complex socio-technical arrangements.

Therefore, the development and appropriation of technology is not only based on technical and economical decisions. Considerations also include decisions on how we want to understand and to shape individual life and societal coexistence. Accordingly, plenty of ethical questions concerning technology arise.

Within the research focus Technology Ethics we, firstly, study specific technologies which raise ethical questions, such as technologies for the elderly or affective computing. However, technologies are inseparable from their societal contexts. Secondly, we therefore also focus on the relations between technology and society. A third cross-sectional issue comprises the questions of how ethical expertise (and also expertise from the social sciences and the humanities) can be used to shape the development and the use of technologies according to the Ethics Centre‘s concept of an "ethics in the sciences".

Current Projects

  • IDeA: Integriertes Diagnose- und e-Assistenzsystem für Patienten mit altersbedingter Makuladegeneration (AMD)
  • KoBeLU: A context-aware learning environment for education and vocational training
  • HEIMDALL: Multi-Hazard Cooperative Management Tool for Data Exchange, Response Planning and Scenario Building
  • FLORIDA: Flexible, semi-automatic Analysis System for the Evaluation of Mass Video Data
  • NIKA: User-centred interaction design for context-sensitive and acceptable robots
  • A list of completed projects can be found in the archive section.

Selected Publications and Project Outcomes

  • Spindler, Mone; Zinsmaier, Judith; Booz, Sophia; Wydra, Sven; Heyen, Nils B.; Gieseler, Helya et al. (2019): How to achieve integration? Methodical concepts and methodological challenges of integrating
    ethical, social, legal and economic aspects into technology development. In: Arne Manzeschke und Bruno Gransche (Hg.): Das geteilte Ganze // INTEGRIERTE FORSCHUNG. Horizonte Integrierter Forschung für künftige Mensch-Technik-Verhältnisse // Innovationen durch und für gesellschaftlichen Wandel. Wiesbaden: Springer VS; VS VERLAG FUR SOZIALWISSE, S. 213-239.
  • Krüger, Marco (2018) Gesellschaftsethisches Gutachten zum Projekt „Multisensoriell gestützte Erfassung von Straftätern in Menschenmengen bei komplexen Einsatzlagen“, Tübingen: IZEW.
  • Beimborn, Maria, Selma Kadi, Nina Köberer, Mara Mühleck and Mone Spindler (2016) ‘Focussing on the human. Interdisciplinary reflecions on ageing and technology’, in: Linda Nierling and Emma Domínguez-Rué (eds) Ageing and Technology. Perspectives from the Social Sciences, Bielefeld: transcript, 311–333.
  • Ammicht Quinn, Regina, Maria Beimborn, Selma Kadi, Nina Köberer, Mara Mühleck, Mone Spindler and Katja Tulatz (2015) Alter, Technik, Ethik. Ein Fragen- und Kriterienkatalog. Tübingen: IZEW
  • Hagendorff, Thilo (2015) ‘Technikethische Werte im Konflikt – Das Beispiel des Körperscanners’, TaTuP Zeitschrift für Technikfolgenabschätzung in Theorie und Praxis 24(1), 82–86.
  • Matzner, Tobias, und Regina Ammicht Quinn (2015) ‘Ethik als Begleitforschung: Erwartungen und Selbstverständnisse’, in: Peter Zoche, Stefan Kaufmann and Harald Arnold (eds) Sichere Zeiten?, Berlin: Lit, 219–234.
  • Heesen, Jessica (2014) ‚Mensch und Technik. Ethische Aspekte einer Handlungspartnerschaft zwischen Personen und Robotern’, in: Eric Hilgendorf (ed.) Robotik im Kontext von Recht und Moral, Nomos: Baden-Baden, 190–205.
  • Nagenborg, Michael (2014) ‘Ethik als Partnerin in der Technikgestaltung’, in: Regina Ammicht Quinn (ed.) Sicherheitsethik, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 241–252.

Completed Projects

A list of completed research projects pursued by the Research Focus Technology Ethics can be found in the archive section.