With power should come responsibility, but history is littered with cautionary tales that suggest that innovation is a form of ‘organised irresponsibility’.
Science, technology and innovation are some of the most powerful shapers of social order known. They have huge potential for both benefit and harm. With power should come responsibility, but history is littered with cautionary tales that suggest that innovation is a form of ‘organised irresponsibility’. Are there ways to steer and improve technologies while they are still emerging? We will look at contemporary technologies that are reshaping the world and we will look back to when established technologies were new. Case studies include geoengineering, gene editing, AI and self-driving cars and we will use ideas from ethics, sociology of science, philosophy of technology and science policy studies.
The aims of this course are to get students to think and write critically about the directions of science and technology, taking into account social, political, economic and ethical questions. Responsible innovation. By the end of this course, students will be familiar with a number of case studies of emerging technologies and they will be able to apply the lessons from these to other areas of science and technology. The idea is to study concepts and cases in lectures, discuss them in seminars and apply them to new areas at the frontiers of science and innovation through students’ own writing. In addition to assessment via essay, the course also asks students to write accessibly and publicly, via a blog, about new technologies.
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