Press Release 146/2015

25 Years Scientific Advice for Politics: Technology Assessment with the German Bundestag

Successful Advisory Work of KIT - Ceremony on “Mensch-Maschine-Entgrenzung” in Berlin
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Since 1990, the Office of Technology Assessment has been advising German Parliament. (Photo: Markus Breig, KIT)

Modern power grids, 3D printing as well as electronic media and addictive behavior presently are among the wide range of topics covered by the Office of Technology Assessment with the German Parliament (TAB) that is operated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Since its establishment in 1990, TAB has published nearly 200 reports on impacts of scientific-technical developments on society. The ceremony on the occasion of the 25th anniversary will be opened by Professor Nor-bert Lammert, President of the Bundestag, on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 14.30 hrs, in the entrance hall of the Paul-Löbe Haus des Deutschen Bundestages, Berlin.

Representatives of the media are cordially invited


During the ceremony (in German only), Patricia Lips, who chairs the Committee on Education, Research, and Technology Assessment of the German Bundestag, will speak about the importance of technology assessment (TA). The rapporteurs of the four parliamentary groups will outline the benefit and use of TA from the perspective of the members of parliament and the parliamentary groups. “In any case, it can be stated that the TAB reports always provide members of parliament with independent, objective, and highly substantiated scientific expertise. The success of TAB is due to the transparent and understandable communication of complex matters,” Partricia Lips says.


Professor Dr. Armin Grunwald, Head of the TAB and of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) of KIT that runs the TAB in Berlin, will speak about “Mensch-Maschine-Entgrenzung” (dissolution of boundaries between man and machine). This topic is not only the subject of a current TAB project, it has also been in the focus of ITAS for some time now: “Direct coupling of human brain to machines currently takes place mainly for therapeutic and diagnostic reasons. Still, these neurotechnologies are highly dynamic and of very explosive nature, as these interventions do not only subject the human body, but the human self to a technical design and optimization will,” Grunwald says.


Today’s and future neurotechnologies, their benefit for society, but also potential risks from the theoretical and practical perspectives will be subject of the discussion “Cyborgs und Maschinenmenschen – zwischen Therapie und Utopie” (cyborgs and machine men – between therapy and utopia) presented by science journalist Volkart Wildermuth. Apart from Professor Armin Grunwald, Professor Christiane Woopen, Chairperson of the German Ethics Council, Professor Tanja Schultz, Chair for Cognitive Systems of the University of Bremen, and Professor Thomas Stieglitz, Chair for Biomedical Microtechnology of the University of Freiburg, will represent science. The views of developers and users will be represented by Enno Park, Chairman of the Association “Cyborgs e.V.”, Karl Heinz Ammon, user of a highly modern myoelectric arm prosthesis, and Martin Pusch, Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH.


“The Invisible Drumset” performed by the duo of “Christopher Rumble” (Berlin/Dresden) and Dr. Marc Bangert, Dresdener Institut für Musikermedizin, will introduce the ceremony. The performance will combine findings of neurotechnology research with high-tech and cultural-artistic overaccentuation.


Scientific Analyses for Politics

To date, TAB has submitted to the German Bundestag about 200 reports on the impacts of scientific-technical developments on society. Among the last topics covered were synthetic biology, modern power grids, climate engineering, or electronic media and addictive behavior. The analyses are made by TAB on behalf of the committees and parliamentary groups. Then, they are discussed there and in the plenum of the German Bundestag and, thus, support the members of Parliament in their political work.


Enquete commissions, federal and state ministries, research and education institutions, authorities, companies, and the interested public also use the results presented by the TAB reports for selected scenarios and action options. At public events, selected results of the projects are put up for discussions by the scientists and the Commission on Education, Research, and Technology Assessment.


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Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 10,000 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,800 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

le, 25.11.2015

Margarete Lehné
Chief Press Officer (acting)
Phone: +49 721 608-41105
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Contact for this press release:

Margarete Lehné
Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41157
Fax: +49 721 608-41157
margarete lehne does-not-exist.kit edu
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