TPM participates in new Gravitation programme

News - 30 August 2019 - Webredactie

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has announced the new funding awards within its Gravitation programme, worth some € 113 million. TU Delft is participating in three of the six new programmes. TPM researchers Sabine Roeser and Ibo van de Poel take part of the programme Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies. The other two programmes involve brain research and artificial intelligence. The Gravitation programme, financed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), focuses on outstanding scientific research programmes. The funding awards enable leading researchers to spend a ten-year period engaged in innovative research and collaborative activities of a fundamental nature.

Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies

Main applicant: UT; funding award: € 17.9 million; TU Delft participant: Prof Ibo van de Poel and Prof Sabine Roeser

New technological developments are currently happening at an impressive rate. They include innovations in artificial intelligence, robotics, synthetic biology, nanomedication, molecular biology and neurotechnology. These very different examples have one thing in common: they have the potential to bring about major changes to everyday life, socially, culturally and economically. But they also raise complex moral issues that call for ethical reflection. In other words, they are socially disruptive technologies (SDTs).

This programme will develop new methods needed to gain a better understanding of the development and implementation of the new generation of disruptive technologies, to enable a moral evaluation and to make it possible to intervene in the way in which the technology develops in the future. This will partly involve enhancing cooperation between experts in ethics, philosophers and leading technological scientists and engineers focusing on responsible and sustainable innovation.

The Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies is the first project in the field of ethics and technology to receive funding from the Gravitation programme.

New technologies call for a reorientation on classic philosophical concepts such as freedom, justice and responsibility, and on how we can adopt moral core values in innovations.

― Sabine Roeser

We expect that this reorientation in the fields of ethics and technology will also strengthen the cooperation between ethicists, philosophers and technology scientists.

― Ibo van de Poel
Photo: Roland Pierik