Technology assessment and the social and human impact of innovation

By Fred Young Phillips, Deog-Seong Oh, November 1, 2016

Each day brings technological innovations in fields such as energy, biotechnology, and data security. Many of them will make a global impact, yet we do not know in what ways they will help or endanger us. Technology assessment (TA) attempts to foresee the social and human impacts of innovations. Globalization, information technology, and new management tools offer possibilities for better assessments. Virtual teams, dispersed across the world, could produce collaborative assessments. Diverse actors could engage in TA: governments, companies, international agencies, and research parks. This article highlights the new context and prospects for assessment, identifies the obstacles to effective assessment, and presents policy recommendations and challenges.

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