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Additional info for Assessing the Impacts of Information Technology: Hope to escape the negative effects of an Information Society by Research
Accordingly, socially responsible impact research must dare to anticipate possibly dubious or even dangerous developments, despite possessing an inadequate state of knowledge. Nevertheless the impact researcher who forges ahead in analytic anticipation of social developments in the future has to recognize his responsibility for an empirical and theoretical justification of his theses and must strive to achieve it. This is extremly important as we are aware that a mere linear extension of existing trends does not take into account the qualitative breaks in the developments of the applications of technologies.
Knowing about the limits of validity of findings, technology assessment can be a useful and valuable tool in understanding the anxieties and potential hazards of new tech- 60 Introduction nological developments. increasing future. sensitivity Such criticism about our contributes responsibility to to an the For many years business firms have understood that short-term thinking endangers long run success. Technology assessment can help to increase the consciousness in society that we need strategic and long-term planning in order to cope with technological developments.
In the next step the technical application has a more or less wide range of impacts: - a new production technic leads to a reorganization. It affects the division of labour, the labour skills and the social and ecological environment at the work place. There can be an increase of burdens and risks for employees and a partial or total loss of income. - On the consumption side a new technical good can create new risks and it can induce a behavioral change. In addition a new technology can also have more or less strong impacts on the ecology and on the regional and sectoral economy.