This book brings together articles by Armin Grunwald, which address technology futures (Technikzukünfte) in different contexts and for different technologies. Its aim is to introduce the concept of "technology futures" and to position it within scientific debate, and to provide conceptual foundations and elements of a research program for a new institute of KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) called ITZ (Institut für Technikzukünfte).
Common to all the articles is that technology futures are seen as a medium for societal debates about technology and concrete technology design. Technology futures - the plural is the program! - are an important medium of progress, but also of its perception and processing. They are present in research and development, are part of our notions of a sustainable society, characterize current debates about science and technology and raise questions about the future of man and society. Technology futures and the communication about it may decide about success or failure of development processes.
The book covers three themes. In the first part "Future, Technology and Society" the conceptual frame is presented in which "technology futures" are situated, starting from the debate about the shaping of technology.
The second part of "Visionary Technology-Fields" addresses some of the major technology debates of recent years, which were characterized by wide-ranging, sometimes utopian technology futures - including nanotechnology, synthetic biology and robotics. The analysis of these future technology debates clearly shows the need for a hermeneutic of future technologies.
The third part "technology futures and the vision of sustainable development" elaborates on the ambiguity of the relationship between technology and sustainability, which is particularly evident in the transformation of the energy system.
The three parts are each preceded by a brief explanation, in which the contributions are situated in the overall context of the book. The articles of this book are mostly reprints, sometimes supplemented with new elements, sometimes slightly revised versions. Three articles have been newly written, and two are German versions of articles published in English before. The main reason for the present compilation of articles is that it allows for a coherent view of the ideas, diagnoses and arguments put forward during the past few years by the author. It is hoped that it will serve as a valid conceptual foundation able to guide research of technology futures.
Technikzukünfte als Medium von Zukunftsdebatten und Technikgestaltung. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing, 2012