New and emerging technologies: what are the challenges?

New and emerging technologies are those that are expected to generate new opportunities and offer a wealth of socio-economic benefits. However, in the early stages of their development, these technologies also pose a number of potential ethical challenges and societal consequences.

Prioritising ethics in the design, development, and deployment of new technologies

In light of this problem, it is important to ask: how can we prioritise ethics and societal values in the design, development and deployment of new and emerging technologies, particularly those with high socio-economic impact?

TechEthos addresses the growing ethical challenges and expectations regarding new technologies by:

  • Scanning the technology horizon to identify 3-4 emerging technologies that raise challenging ethical issues
  • Conducting three different analyses for each of these technologies:
    • Ethical analysis
    • Policy-legal analysis
    • Expert and citizen-focused analysis of societal awareness and acceptance, via interviews and a media scan
  • Enhancing ethical and legal frameworks and operational guidelines to support the research community in integrating ethics concerns and societal values into research protocols and technology design

Legal assessment

For each of the selected technologies, Trilateral identifies legal issues and challenges, with a focus on those affecting socio-economic inequalities, including disparities in health treatment; social status and social inclusion; gender equality; and fundamental rights and freedoms on individuals.

Following this review, Trilateral analyses relevant international and EU laws and policies with respect to each of the identified technologies, to assess existing legislation and identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Exploring societal awareness and acceptance

Trilateral conducts a media scan to capture public discourse and explore societal awareness and acceptance of the identified technologies. This helps to provide insight on public perceptions of these technologies, and awareness of, or concerns regarding ethical or social issues (such as risks of the technology to increase inequalities, discriminations etc.).

Enhancing impact via raising awareness, strengthening engagement and leading advocacy

Trilateral enhances the project findings by creating a network including citizens, policymakers, researchers, industry, technology developers, science communicators, and the media to reach out to all relevant stakeholders’ communities, facilitating novel collaborations, amplifying TechEthos’s results and encouraging responsible research innovation.

Trilateral liaises with policymakers to mobilise support from key decision-makers in the European Parliament and civil society organisations in order to boost impact and gain their support for adopting the project’s recommendations during the project lifetime and beyond.

Policy advice to enhance societal wellbeing

Trilateral leads a joint consultation in Brussels with 20-30 stakeholders including EU policymakers and officials to discuss the need for dedicated legislation at the EU level, in relation to the selected technologies. Trilateral will prepare a policy briefing based on the consultation and shared with EU policymakers.

For more information and updates visit the TechEthos website and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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TECHETHOS has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101006249

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Ethics, Human Rights & Emerging Technologies

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