Reinventing Technology Assessment in the U.S.

Sclove, Richard. (2010) Reinventing Technology Assessment in the U.S. [Video] (Unpublished)

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Around the world the pace of technological change is increasing. The far-reaching social ramifications are, however, often not understood until after new technologies become entrenched. Historically this has resulted in important lost opportunities, significant social and environmental costs, and channeling societal development down long-term unhealthy paths. Technology assessment (TA) is a practice intended to enhance societal understanding of the broad implications of science and technology, creating the possibility of improved decision-making. Beginning in 1972, the United States led the world in institutionalizing TA, until the Congress closed its Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in 1995. Meanwhile TA is flourishing in Europe, where 18 TA agencies have developed many innovative TA practices, including highly effective methods involving participation by everyday citizens. Participatory technology assessment (pTA) strengthens the social and ethical analysis of technology, complementing the expert-based approaches used by the former OTA. European pTA methods have been adapted, tested, and proven in the U.S. at least 16 times. The time is ripe to institutionalize a robust national TA capability incorporating both expert and participatory methods. The Internet makes it possible to envision organizing such an endeavor on a distributed, agile and open basis, harnessing collaborative efficiencies and supporting broad public engagement.

Item Type: Video
Additional Information: Emerging Organizations, Oversight, and Public Policy Systems
InterNano Taxonomy: Social and Economic Impacts > Social Perspectives
Collections: Science Technology and Society's Nanotechnology and Society Workshops
Depositing User: Michelle Sagan Goncalves
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2010 15:00
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2010 15:14

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