Shaping Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of the Digital Revolution Through Participation: The New Interdisciplinary Research Paradigm of Aachener DenkfabrEthik
The digital era is bringing fundamental transformations to all areas of society. The penetration of everyone’s professional and private lives with modern information and communication technology is constantly increasing. However, the developers responsible for this transformation are currently often oriented too heavily towards what can be accomplished technically, what is economically promising or politically desirable and not primarily towards the requirements of the future users.
The Aachener DenkfabrEthik is a success model for participatory identification of regional potential and challenges related to technology while also addressing this problem. As an independent exchange and networking platform, it forms precisely the required interface between citizens of all age groups, researchers in a wide range of disciplines, and regional decision-makers, allowing to proactively record and convey the implications of using technology. The initiative is supported actively by an interdisciplinary advisory board of regional personalities from religion, culture, politics, science, and industry.
Until now, there has been a lack of such a place of exchange in which ethical, social and legal problems can be communicated and discussed through participation together across all age groups. With the Aachener DenkfabrEthik, an incubator has been created that closes this gap and also contributes to shaping participatory geronto technology research. The cross-faculty, academic evaluation is undertaken using a multi-methodological approach in which procedures from various disciplines are combined and transformed for use in new areas of application.
This process results in an interdisciplinary research paradigm in which technical innovations are designed in a user-centric manner, implemented across domains, and assessed on a macrosocial level.
KeywordsParticipation Digitalization Interdisciplinary research paradigm Ethics
A very special thanks goes to the members of the advisory board of Aachener DenkfabrEthik for their constructive collaboration.
This publication is part of the research project “TECH4AGE,” financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, under Grant No. 16SV7111) and promoted by VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.