The vision assessment study funded by Carl Zeiss Foundation investigates the current visions of scalable digital 3D additive manufacturing. To this end, social scientists cooperate with researchers of the cluster of excellence 3D Matter Made to Order to assess, modify, and discuss relevant technology visions and application scenarios to embed the cluster’s visionary research in a societal dialogue.
The envisioned futures of scalable digital 3D additive manufacturing promise unprecedented capabilities of shaping matter with digital tools. New materials, digital machines, and scientific insights may create new applications and business cases and promote scientific recognition. Visions of the future as imaginations of what might be are essential for driving our quest for new knowledge and new technological capabilities. Such visions also increase the societal perception of and commitment to science and its products. Hopes and concerns, utopias and dystopias related to new technologies arise in different areas of society, even in science itself. Instead of predicting the future, visions shape the present of research in society. Therefore, researching and assessing visions of the future and their role in science and society is central to understanding and shaping the relationship between science, technology, and society. This vision assessment study aims to expand the imaginations of the cluster’s visionary research and make it more relevant to society through the dialogue with stakeholders in politics, industry, and civil society.
Based on the expertise on vision assessment at ITAS, the project focuses on the following tasks:
- Analyzing the visionary discourses on scalable digital 3D additive manufacturing in the cluster and on an international level;
- Assessing the anticipated innovative potentials, risks, ethical and social implications of future applications;
- Constructing visionary scenarios to explore and discuss development paths for the cluster’s visionary technologies;
- Engaging in an ongoing dialogue with the researchers of the cluster concerning the societal aspects of their research;
- Cooperating with external experts, stakeholders, and society to collaboratively shape and communicate the imagined futures;
- Supporting the cluster’s scientists in embedding their research in society and becoming responsive to societal implications of visionary research.
The project’s mission is to support the societal relevance of visionary research and make research and society more responsive to and responsible for each other to foster better technologies within a better society.