Social mastery of technical innovation

Budget 2018-2020: 600 000 €

According to a positivist, technophile worldview, technical innovation structures human history: it is an economic motor and creator of well-being. Innovation is the essence of the modern world. In opposition to this linear interpretation, a more complex approach places technical innovation in a socio-economic and historical context in which many forces--legal, human, political, financial, etc.--interact. Supporters of this approach also point out the negative impact of some technical innovations on both the environment and society, and thus the importance of assessing possible impact before implementation. On this issue, three ideological currents can be distinguished: a powerful technophile current with little interest in the negative consequences of a technical innovation; a second current that supports the idea of a posteriori regulation, and a third that wants to subordinate technical choices to a fair and equitable project for society. For the latter group, it is not a matter of being ‘for’ or ‘against’ technical innovation but of choosing from amongst options: What innovation(s) for what project for society? Who benefits from the innovation? Who uses the innovation? What impact will it have on the organisation of society and on the environment?

The foundation supports citizens groups that monitor technology and contribute to democratic debate on management of technical innovation.

Programme : Transition to sustainable societies