Perspective: Reinventing Technology Assessment

June 11, 2018 2:10 PM | Raphaelle Aubin

by Richard E. Sclove

Brief Excerpt:

"Technology assessment (TA) is a practice intended to enhance societal understanding of the broad implications of science and technology (S&T). Its use creates the possibility of preparing for or constructively influencing developments to ensure better outcomes. From 1972 to 1995, the United States led the world in institutionalizing TA. Then Congress reversed course, closing its Office of Technology Assessment (OTA).

Meanwhile, there are now 18 TA agencies in Europe. They have developed many promising practices, including highly effective methods involving participation by everyday citizens. Participatory technology assessment (pTA) enables laypeople who are otherwise minimally represented in S&T politics to develop and express informed judgments concerning complex topics. In the process, pTA deepens the social and ethical analysis of technology, complementing the expert-analytic and stakeholder-advised approach to TA that was used by the OTA."

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