Future Technologies We Want


Ineke Malsch
ISBN: 978-94-6240-721-3 Softcover/Paperback
ISBN: 978-94-6240-469-4 E-book


The Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development concluded with the outcome document “The Future We Want”, endorsed by the UN General Assembly in June 2012. Three years later, the UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, with special emphasis on the role of science and technology.
This book explores how governments and stakeholders can cooperate in governing emerging technologies contributing to this common future.
Three cases are presented where technology plays a role in a societal context relevant to sustainable development. In the first case, technology could offer solutions to violent social conflicts over mining. In the second case, biotechnologies and life sciences cause biosecurity risks, which could be solved by engaging citizens in social solutions for strengthening biosecurity governance. In the third case, drone technology has recently entered civil as well as military markets, giving rise to many legal, ethical and social questions and uncertainties. At this stage, the technology is still flexible and could be shaped through value sensitive design.
The rest of the book presents a 3-dimensional approach to international sustainable and responsible innovation, combining legal, technical and social fixes. Legal fixes include international constitutional and legal chance, culminating in a global parliament and dual national and global citizenship, inspired by the philosophers Habermas and Kant. Its implications are compared with less revolutionary proposals for institutional reform, soft law and voluntary self-regulation. Technical fixes include value-sensitive design of technologies and products, as well as the use of computer-models and decision support tools. Social fixes include public dialogue about norms and value-differences between cultural and religious communities.

The dialogue rules are inspired by communitarian thinkers and by the subsidiarity principle, that decisions should be taken as close as possible to the persons affected by them.
The book ends with an overview of current international good practices among all engaged stakeholder groups contribute to more sustainable and responsible technology development. Finally, it offers concrete suggestions for joining the common endeavour to construct the Future Technologies We Want.

Ineke Malsch (Utrecht, 1966) graduated in physics at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and received a PhD in philosophy at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Her PhD-thesis is entitled “Ethics and Nanotechnology. Responsible Development of Nanotechnology at Global Level in the 21st Century.” This book takes a different angle to the same issues, starting from societal needs in stead of technological impacts. 

See also www.ethicschool.nl/english.