The overall aim of the research programme is to develop a comprehensive philosophical understanding of the socially disruptive technologies (SDTs) of the 21st century, and in particular their challenge to the very concepts and values that we normally appeal to in our moral thinking. These concepts and values form the basis of our current moral, political, and anthropological order. There is an urgency to this aim, as we need to develop new moral frameworks to guide these technologies for the betterment of humanity.

Our Three focal points 

In the programme we will focus on three clusters of emerging SDTs, which are: 

  1. New digital technologies including robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), big data, blockchain, social media, and quantum computing.
  2. New bio- and brain technologies including gene editing, gene drives, synthetic biology, neurotechnology, advanced medical and food technologies, and technologies for human enhancement.
  3. New environmental and sustainable technologies including energy technologies, water technologies, recycling and other technologies for the circular economy, climate engineering, and bio-based and low-carbon technologies.

Our specific aims

  1. We aim to develop new comprehensive approaches in ethics and philosophy for analyze, morally evaluating and intervening in the development and implementation of socially disruptive technologies, specifically the newest generation.
  2. We aim to engage in systematic, reflective studies of key philosophical and ethical concepts that are challenged by SDTs, thereby innovating the ethics and philosophy of technology and the field of (practical) philosophy as a whole.

  3. We aim to innovate the ethics and philosophy of technology by repositioning its relation to the engineering sciences by developing collaborative models between philosophers and engineers aimed at improved philosophical and ethical analysis and responsible innovation. 
  4. We aim to develop innovative, longitudinal and encompassing philosophical and ethical studies of the new generation of SDT’s and their impacts on humans, nature and society, including studies of new digital technologies, new bio and brain technologies, and new environmental and sustainable technologies for a circular economy.