3Assessing Responsibility by Considering Techno-Futures

In order to acquire orientation to act responsibly, the future consequences of actions and decisions are commonly analyzed and assessed from the perspective of responsibility. This model reaches its epistemological limits with regard to the future consequences of NEST. These limits and the possibilities of nonetheless being able to assess NEST futures in terms of the ethics of responsibility are the focus of this chapter. In this context, I will summarize the debate conducted in recent years on this topic and focus it on the research questions of this book. In a sense, this chapter provides a foundation for the suggestion made in Chapter 2 to extend the object of responsibility in the area of NEST.

3.1. Responsibility assessments: introduction and overview

In the past 15 years, there has been a considerable increase in visionary communication on NEST and their impacts on society (section 1.3). In particular, this has been the case in the fields of nanotechnology [SEL 08, FIE 10], human enhancement and the converging technologies [ROC 02, GRU 07a, WOL 08a, COE 09], synthetic biology [GRU 14c, GIE 14] and climate engineering [CRU 06] where debates on responsibility arose. The visions involved refer to a more distant future and exhibit revolutionary aspects in terms of technology and culture, human behavior, and individual and social issues as well. Little if any knowledge is available about how the respective technology ...

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