Cluster 4: Human - Technology - Society

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Susanne Boll und Prof. Dr. Jannika Mattes


The research cluster deals with the multiple social feedbacks between Human-Cyber-Physical Systems, society, and culture. In order to highlight these relationships and interactions between social and technical systems, the latter can be understood as socio-technical systems.  

The starting point of this cluster is thus the thesis of co-evolution between technology and society, which refers not only to the socio-cultural implications of technologies, but also to the fact that technology emerges from and in social and cultural dynamics and symbolic processes. In this respect, their separation is to be understood as an analytical one. For socio-technical systems, such as a production plant, an energy system or an emergency room, consist on the one hand of complex technical and physical structures, but on the other hand also of institutions, norms and social organisational principles that are designed to regulate the activities of the actors who develop, operate, use and manage the technology. According to this understanding, technology and society are interdependent and interwoven. The expectation is derived from this that technology will only be accepted and adapted in the long term if it is socially and culturally "embedded" and is flanked and contained by collectively binding regulations. This also requires an ethical perspective on the acceptability of technologies and raises normative questions about justice, responsibility and also participation, which must be reflected upon during the process of technology development and also implementation. 

The research cluster not only looks at the effects of technology in a socio-cultural context, but also at the forms and impact potentials of different narrative and media representations of digital technology in our society, up to and including a prospective design of technology. In addition, it deals with questions of the social acceptance of technology and ethical-normative questions of technological and digital transformation. 

The researchers of the cluster have made it their goal to take a look at the perceptions of and dealings with socio-technical systems in different areas of society, on the other hand, to outline ways of developing technology and to derive methods of how acceptable technology can be developed and operated.  

(Changed: 19 Dec 2022)