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How can we anticipate impacts of disruptive technologies?

How can we anticipate impacts of disruptive technologies?

Written by Michael Gizicki-Neundlinger | Reviewed by Simon Ladinik

Created on: 20 Jul 2020 | Updated on: 20 Jul 2020

News category: "News on Living Innovation"

Alfred Nordmann on the Art of Anticipation

How can we anticipate impacts of disruptive technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Robotics? How can we take a look into a future, where small innovations can cause large-scale transformation? How can we steer innovation into directions that are not only technologically feasible, but also socially desirable?


Our guest in this week's Responsible Innovation Story is Alfred Nordmann, Professor of Philosophy and History of Science at Technical University Darmstadt. He has published intensively on societal implications of science and technology, responsible governance of nanotechnology and responsible research in synthetic biology.

For Alfred Nordmann, RRI faces an insurmountable challenge of anticipating a world we cannot fully foresee. As a starting point, we should stick to the processes and mechanisms we know.

“Often, innovations give big promises. Rather, we should focus on the real problems we have, such as climate change and population ageing.”


Our most important insights from this interview with Alfred Nordmann:

  • Anticipating future impacts of technology is a big challenge for RRI.
  • To better anticipate possible futures, we need to develop a more open research and innovation system that is based on shared societal values.
  • By doing so, we can jointly create new solutions that provide added-value for individual companies and society at large.


The interview was taken prior to the outbreak of Covid-19. Therefore, social distancing measures were not implemented.


Enjoy watching the full interview at!

Click on the time stamps to watch the respective topics

00:00 The Art of Anticipation

02:05 Dis-Orienting Spaces of the Future

02:49 The Forensics of Wishing

03:35 A New Language

05:11 The Maker-Space of Responsible Innovation

07:01 Society as Laboratory

08:20 Value-Driven Innovation Ecosystems

09:58 Inclusion Increases Readiness for Market

1:00 A New Form of Open Science

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