Christopher Coenen

Christopher Coenen
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology | KIT · Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)

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95
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Introduction
Christopher Coenen works at the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) within the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). For his homepage at KIT-ITAS (with, inter alia, current and completed projects), see: https://www.itas.kit.edu/english/staff_coenen_christopher.php. For a list of his publications including conference presentations and talks, see: http://www.itas.kit.edu/pub/l/m/coenen_chr.htm

Publications

Publications (95)
Preprint
Full-text available
As quantum technologies (QT) have been becoming more and more realized, their potential impact on and relation with society has been developing into a pressing issue for exploration. In this paper, we investigate the topic of democratization in the context of QT, particularly quantum computing. The paper contains three main sections. First, we brie...
Article
Full-text available
Public engagement is crucial to strengthen responsibility frameworks in highly innovative contexts, including as part of business organisations. One particular innovation that calls for public engagement is gamification. Gamification fosters changes in working practices to improve the organisation, efficiency and productivity of a business by intro...
Article
Due primarily to technological advances over the last decade, quantum research has become a key priority area for science and technology policy all over the world. With this manifesto, we wish to prevent quantum technology from running into fiascos of implementation at the interface of science and society. To this end, we identify key stumbling blo...
Article
Full-text available
Since the late twentieth century, the concept of emerging technologies, fields designated as such and their governance have received increasing attention in academia, the media and policymaking. This also applies to the strongly interdisciplinary field of technology assessment (TA), sustainability research (SR), and activities and discussions about...
Chapter
Problem: Visions of technology, future scenarios, guiding visions (Leitbilder) represent imaginations of future states of affairs that play a functional role in processes of technological research, development and innovation—e.g. as a means to create attention, communication, coordination, or for the strategic exertion of influence. Since a couple...
Technical Report
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Additive bio-manufacturing (bio-AM) is defined here as the use of 3D printing for medical purposes or non-therapeutic "human enhancement", whether they involve the production of biological material or not. It includes any application for rehabilitating, supporting or augmenting biological functionality. The impacts of bio-AM are uncertain, and it i...
Technical Report
Full-text available
3D bio-printing is defined here as the use of 3D printing technology for applications related to the body, whether the products themselves include biological material or not, and whether their purpose is medical or not. It includes any application for rehabilitating, supporting or augmenting any kind of biological functionality. The impacts of 3D b...
Article
Full-text available
Semi-autonomous driving is an emerging – though not unprecedented – technology which cannot necessarily be seen as safe and reliably accident-free. Insurance companies thus play an important role as influential stakeholders in the negotiation and implementation processes around this new technology. They can either push the technology (e.g. by offer...
Chapter
Reflexionen zum Verhältnis von Mensch und Technik durchziehen die Technikphilosophie und angrenzende Bereiche spätestens seit den grundlegenden Überlegungen von Karl Marx (vgl. Quante 2013) und haben vor allem im deutschsprachigen Raum wesentliche Anregungen durch Arnold Gehlen (vgl. Gutmann 2013) und andere Vertreter der Philosophischen Anthropolo...
Article
For the abstract and full text, see: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11569-018-0313-1
Article
Full-text available
We are currently witnessing the emergence of a discourse on responsible research and innovation (RRI) in the field of quantum technology. Working on the assumption that the initial stage of discourse is of particular importance with regard to the ascription of meaning to an emerging field, our point of departure is a small corpus of prominent polic...
Article
Full-text available
Transhumanismus und Militär - Dossier Nr. 85 der Zeitschrift Wissenschaft & Frieden. Transhumanismus ist eine weltweite philosophisch-futuristische Bewegung mit dem Ziel, die physischen und intellektuellen Grenzen heutiger Menschen zu überwinden. Neben vielerlei zivilen Motiven, die von der Bekämpfung von Krankheiten bis zur Unsterblichkeit reichen...
Article
For the full text, see: http://wissenschaft-und-frieden.de/seite.php?dossierID=089 Gegen Grenzen? Der militärisch-industrielle Komplex und die transhumanistische Versuchung
Chapter
Es ist für die Herausgeber der Buchreihe „Technikzukünfte, Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft“ und insbesondere für den Verfasser dieses Nachworts eine Ehre und Freude, dass die Festschrift für Richard Saage zu dessen 75. Geburtstag in ihr erscheint. Dies gilt umso mehr, als diese dem Thema Utopie gewidmet ist. Alle drei Reihenherausgeber, Armin Grunwal...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In 1997, a review was published of the development of the Net (“a new social institution, an electronic commons”) pushed by the Netizens, as Michael Hauben baptised them. These were people online who “understand the value of collective work and the communal aspects of public communications”, but who at that time were already challenged by “the incr...
Article
pdf: http://isegoria.revistas.csic.es/index.php/isegoria/article/download/946/945 El discurso sobre la biología sintética, altamente visionario y marcado por el enfoque de ‘investigación e innovación responsable’ (RRI) puede interpretarse como un terreno para confrontar perspectivas sobre el futuro de nuestras sociedades en su conjunto. En un mome...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Technologische Trends im Bereich Robotik und Neurotechnologien werden in jüngster Zeit wissenschaftlich, aber auch öffentlich ungemein intensiv diskutiert. Beide Technologiebereiche eröffnen Anwendungsperspektiven, die das Potenzial haben, das Mensch-Technik-Verhältnis ganz neu zu definieren. Die konkreten Möglichkeiten dieser Technologien erschein...
Chapter
Wer in den 1970er und frühen 1980er Jahren in einer durch „1968“ stark geprägten westdeutschen Universitätsstadt vom Kind zum Jugendlichen heranwuchs, wird sich nicht nur an Vokabeln wie „Leistungsterror“‘ erinnern, sondern auch an Autoritätspersonen in Schulen und Vereinen, die uns Minderjährigen ihre – wie wir dachten: ewig gestrigen – Vorstellun...
Chapter
Synthetic biology (SB) does not constitute a strictly defined field, but may be best described as an engineering approach aimed at redesigning or newly constructing biology-derived parts, systems, and entire organisms. This approach can integrate different disciplines (biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics) and ‘converging technologies’ (biotech...
Chapter
Over the last decade we have witnessed a significant maturation of the debate around the potential impact of nanotechnologies and other emerging technologies. A global risk research agenda has been developed to address key areas of uncertainty, and we have seen a shift towards ‘responsibility’, ‘responsible development’ and ‘responsible innovation’...
Article
Full-text available
Article
The current issue of our journal features a special section on technoscientific developments and animals, an extremely sensitive and highly politicized issue. There is widespread unease and even outrage, at least in many Western societies, over the use and treatment of animals in various sectors, particularly in food production, in technoscience, a...
Chapter
Current visions of human enhancement are rooted in visions of the future that were developed in Great Britain in the late 19th century and in the first third of the 20th century by a number of leading scientists and science-savvy authors, such as John Desmond Bernal and Herbert George Wells. The visions are thereby rooted in a historical situation...
Article
A too narrow focus on engineering and application may confine the development of synthetic biology: this Forum article provides reasons to suggest that knowledge could remain related to intended functions and applications, and not flow back from application to (deeper biological) understanding. Concurrently, such an engineering/application focus ma...
Chapter
Human enhancement issues are not merely academic: the technologies and trends involved give rise to new needs and social demands, provide opportunities for individuals and society, and present new risks. They also challenge crucial cultural notions, social concepts and views of the human condition, and may cause new forms of social pressure and soc...
Article
Zusammenfassung Bereits seit der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts existieren sich selbst als wissenschaftlich begreifende biovisionäre Entwürfe einer Verbesserung, Ergänzung, radikalen Umwandlung oder Ersetzung der menschlichen Natur. Während auf Kollektive zielende biopolitische Programme wie das der alten Eugenik heute zumeist entweder als dis...
Article
The shaping of emerging technoscience by transhumanist ideology can be deemed a challenge for both, the interdisciplinary field of technology assessment (TA) and the humanities. The discourses on nanotechnology, 'converging technologies' and 'human enhancement' respectively are major examples of the influence of transhumanism on areas of new and em...
Article
Full-text available
Eugenik, Menschenzüchtung, Designerbabys, Cyborgs und Voraussagen einer „posthumanen“ Zukunft: Diese und andere biovisionäre Entwürfe, in denen es um eine Verbesserung, Ergänzung, radikale Umwandlung oder gar Ersetzung der menschlichen Natur geht, beeinflussen z.T. bereits seit gut hundert Jahren politisch-gesellschaftliche Wissenschafts- und Techn...
Article
This chapter offers an analysis of responsibility with regard to emerging fields of science and technology, characterized by far reaching visions and expectations of their revolutionary potential, which can border on hype. The chapter first analyses a series of five historic episodes that illustrate evolving repertoires of nanofutures, and introduc...
Article
Full-text available
New organisms and biological systems designed to satisfy human needs are among the aims of synthetic genomics and synthetic biology. Synthetic biology seeks to model and construct biological components, functions and organisms that do not exist in nature or to redesign existing biological systems to perform new functions. Synthetic genomics, on the...
Article
Biocybernetic adaptation is a new approach to optimizing human–computer interfaces and human–computer interaction. Bio-signals and, more broadly, vital data of a person are collected and interpreted in real time by a computer in order to trigger its own adaptive processes. The collection of highly sensitive data is thus a necessary condition for th...
Data
The internet is a revolution – there is no doubt and no discussion about it anymore. But is it also a revolution of a second order: a (digital) revolution that causes or at least fuels a (real world) revolution? Gutenberg’s technique newly invented in the beginning of the 15th century did so. The revolutionary ability to print books instead of copy...
Article
Since it is now broadly acknowledged that ethics should receive early consideration in discourse on emerging technologies, ethical debates tend to flourish even while new fields of technology are still in their infancy. Such debates often liberally mix existing applications with technologies in the pipeline and far-reaching visions. This paper anal...
Article
Full-text available
The article examines the role played by policy advice institutions in the governance of ethically controversial new and emerging science and technology in Europe. The empirical analysis, which aims to help close a gap in the literature, focuses on the evolution, role and functioning of national ethics advisory bodies (EABs) in Europe. EABs are expe...
Chapter
Full-text available
[en] Little by little, nanotechnology has emerged amid enormous anticipations and fantastic promises of new materials, aspiring to manipulate our world "atom by atom." While these grand visions continue to capture the imaginations of various audiences---and continue to be contested, as well---nanotechnology has developed into more than that. During...
Book
Full-text available
[en] Little by little, nanotechnology has emerged amid enormous anticipations and fantastic promises of new materials, aspiring to manipulate our world "atom by atom." While these grand visions continue to capture the imaginations of various audiences---and continue to be contested, as well---nanotechnology has developed into more than that. During...
Book
Today, nanoscience and emerging technologies weave ever more tightly into the social fabric. Scientific and technological innovations at the infinitesimal depths of matter now entail cultural, political, and philosophical ramifications of extraordinary scope, extending from the molecular scale to the global scale, from the physical entanglements of...
Technical Report
This study investigates the perception of nanotechnology in Internet-based discussions, thereby entering uncharted territory in a number of respects. First, it specifically investigates the perceived risks and benefits of nanotechnology in a particular sector of the population which, of its own accord, has displayed at least an initial interest in...
Chapter
This essay focuses on rather far-reaching visions of future societies enhanced by nanotechnology. After an overview on the spectrum of visions of nanotechnology and of the discussions about nanotechnology, it is drawn attention to the discussions about the so-called "converging technologies", a debate which evolved from the discourse on nanotechnol...
Book
Full-text available
Nanoscience and emerging technologies are a key development of our times, marked by their constitution through expectations and visions, new ways of organising research, and changing modes of technological governance. They raise new sets of questions. How should science and policy relate? Are science and society converging in new ways? What is the...
Book
Full-text available
Die Veröffentlichung des US-amerikanischen Berichts zu den «Converging Technologies» (Roco und Bainbridge 2002) hat weltweit zu einer Intensivierung der Debatten zur «technischen Verbesserung» des Menschen («Human Enhancement») geführt. Sie hat im Kontext von ELSA-Studien (ethical, legal and social aspects), Technikfolgenabschätzung, sozial- und...
Chapter
»Human Enhancement«, die technologische und pharmakologische Steigerung menschlicher Fähigkeiten, ist aktuell Gegenstand vielschichtiger ethischer und politischer Debatten. In diesem Buch werden häufig ausgeblendete geschichtliche Hintergründe und philosophische Aspekte der Thematik behandelt, so zum Beispiel die Utopiekritik Dostojewskis, die Zuku...
Chapter
»Human Enhancement«, die technologische und pharmakologische Steigerung menschlicher Fähigkeiten, ist aktuell Gegenstand vielschichtiger ethischer und politischer Debatten. In diesem Buch werden häufig ausgeblendete geschichtliche Hintergründe und philosophische Aspekte der Thematik behandelt, so zum Beispiel die Utopiekritik Dostojewskis, die Zuku...
Chapter
»Human Enhancement«, die technologische und pharmakologische Steigerung menschlicher Fähigkeiten, ist aktuell Gegenstand vielschichtiger ethischer und politischer Debatten. In diesem Buch werden häufig ausgeblendete geschichtliche Hintergründe und philosophische Aspekte der Thematik behandelt, so zum Beispiel die Utopiekritik Dostojewskis, die Zuku...
Chapter
»Human Enhancement«, die technologische und pharmakologische Steigerung menschlicher Fähigkeiten, ist aktuell Gegenstand vielschichtiger ethischer und politischer Debatten. In diesem Buch werden häufig ausgeblendete geschichtliche Hintergründe und philosophische Aspekte der Thematik behandelt, so zum Beispiel die Utopiekritik Dostojewskis, die Zuku...
Chapter
»Human Enhancement«, die technologische und pharmakologische Steigerung menschlicher Fähigkeiten, ist aktuell Gegenstand vielschichtiger ethischer und politischer Debatten. In diesem Buch werden häufig ausgeblendete geschichtliche Hintergründe und philosophische Aspekte der Thematik behandelt, so zum Beispiel die Utopiekritik Dostojewskis, die Zuku...
Chapter
A new concept of “converging technologies” (CT) evolved mainly out of activities within the US National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), which were strongly tied to the ethical and societal implications of nanotechnology. It became more widely known after the publication of a workshop report entitled “Converging Technologies for Improving Human Per...
Book
Human Enhancement", die technologische und pharmakologische Steigerung menschlicher Fähigkeiten, ist aktuell Gegenstand vielschichtiger ethischer und politischer Debatten. In diesem Buch werden häufig ausgeblendete geschichtliche Hintergründe und philosophische Aspekte der Thematik behandelt, so zum Beispiel die Utopiekritik Dostojewskis, die Zukun...
Article
Full-text available
Synthetic Biology (SB) is the new kid on the block among emerging technosciences that are said to have a revolutionary impact and the potential to pose major ethical challenges. SB aims at designing biological systems for numerous useful purposes, ideally starting from scratch and creating new life forms. The new EU-funded project SYNTH-ETHICS will...
Book
Full-text available
For abstract and full text, see: http://www.itas.kit.edu/pub/v/2009/coua09a.pdf
Article
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Mit dem im September 2005 begonnenen Modellversuch "Öffentliche Petitionen" bezog der Deutsche Bundestag das Internet in das Petitionsverfahren mit ein und erreichte damit eine größere Transparenz des Petitionsgeschehens. Petitionen können seitdem elektronisch übermittelt, im Internet unterstützend mitgezeichnet und diskutiert werden. Das Büro für...
Chapter
Full-text available
Der vorliegende Beitrag analysiert die aktuellen, eng miteinander verbundenen Kontroversen über "Human Enhancement" und "Converging Technologies" sowie christliche Reaktionen auf diese. Aus bioethischer Perspektive stellen beide Kontroversen eine Ausweitung des Themengebiets dar, da es ihnen weniger um die seit Jahren breit diskutierten Fragen im B...
Article
For the abstract and full text, see: http://www.itas.kit.edu/downloads/tab-brief/tb033_coen08a.pdf
Article
"Weblogs können aufgrund soziotechnischer und -kultureller Charakteristika des Blogging derzeit als besonders gut geeignete Instrumente für den Online-Dialog zwischen Politik und Bürger gelten. Neben den Chancen, die sich dadurch zum Beispiel Parlamentariern und hohen Amtsträgern bieten, bestehen jedoch auch Herausforderungen und Risiken. Dies ist...
Book
Die Nanotechnologie besitzt das Potenzial zur grundlegenden Veränderung ganzer Technologiefelder. Sie wird in Zukunft nicht nur die technologische Entwicklung maßgeblich beeinflussen, sondern auch ökonomische, ökologische, ethische und soziale Implikationen mit sich bringen. Mit ihr verbinden sich Hoffnungen auf bedeutende Umsatzpotenziale in allen...
Article
Full-text available
The debates on nanoscience and technology and their convergence with other fields of research are heavily influenced by technofuturistic visions that have a long-standing tradition in Western thought. In the controversies about technofu-turism the debate on converging technologies is framed as a political and cultural conflict. Posthumanist technof...

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Projects (10)
Project
While neuroscience generally attracts considerable public interest, this is particularly true of the rapidly expanding discourse on the merger of human corporeality with technology. In this discourse, neurotechnology (NT) often features as the harbinger of a future in which the body is transformed in a process of ever-increasing ‘technologization’. It is expected that such technologization will happen in at least three ways: (1) technological modifications of the body in which surgical interventions (implants, prostheses) allow technology to replace or augment bodily functions, (2) the use of technologies that modify the body without such interventions (non-invasive neurostimulation technologies), and (3) brain-machine interface technology capable of coupling humans and artefacts. NT has taken centre stage in many visions of a technologized future body, for example in transhumanism. These visions, as well as a number of current practices within and beyond the medical realm, raise not only hopes and grand expectations but also fears and a disquieting sense of unease. Philosophical, social-scientific, legal and other non-natural scientific research on neuroscience is well-developed, neuroethics being a prime example. This also includes research specifically conducted into certain NTs, as well as research on the topic of ‘human enhancement’. From a different angle, ‘cyborg’ notions and similar concepts are increasingly used in various cultural studies (e.g. media, ‘posthumanist’ or science fiction studies) to analyse (arguably fundamental) changes in the relationships between humans and technology and in particular to explore the merger of corporeality with technology. Given that the field of disability studies can help include the perspectives of early adopters and rejecters of the technologies in question and provide adequate theoretical and empirical approaches, works in this area are of particular importance. However, there is a dearth of studies that take an encompassing approach and of any broadly interdisciplinary exchange on the topic of human-technology mergers. The aim in the FUTUREBODY project is to make a major contribution to remedying this situation. It will thus (i) integrate philosophical analysis of embodiment and agency as core concepts regarding mechanised corporeality, (ii) vision assessment for the understanding of the overall social and cultural significance of NTs and of broader visions of the future of the human body, (iii) socio-empirical research in using quantitative and qualitative methods to better understand the practices and points of view of actual or potential users of NT and people closely working with them, (iv) participatory reflection on NTs including art-science interactions and the use of films in particular, as well as (other) experimental practices, and (v) a socio-theoretical approach which focuses on ability expectations.
Project
Emerging neurotechnologies (NTs) challenge ethical evaluation because they increasingly fuse humans and machines. This fusion has both an impact on the basic philosophical concepts that underlie ethical frameworks and on social and cultural perceptions and expectations of NTs and the respective normative implications. Progress in medical NT shapes our moral reasoning, our cultures and societies well beyond the medical realm; and this realm is in turn significantly influenced by the societal expectations, hopes, fears, imaginations and cultural representations of current and future NT. Some NTs are used outside the health sector and also for non-medical purposes for quite some time now. In the discussions about non-therapeutic ‘human enhancement’ (i.e. the improvement of human performance or the augmentation of human faculties beyond restorative or compensative purposes), NT is one of the key topics; and these discussions are not limited anymore to debates in academic ethics or between small social groups (such as transhumanists and their conservative critics), but extend to other academic communities, societal stakeholders and, to some extent, even to mass media and policy makers. The surge of academic and public interest in current NT practices and in visions of a technologised future of the human body – which is also signalled by the wide currency of such notions as ‘cyborg’ or ‘transhumanism’ – has taken place against the backdrop of a longstanding fascination of modern societies with instances and visions of a merger of humans with machines, as expressed, for example in the influential genre of science fiction. The FUTUREBODY project aims at identifying, addressing and discussing relevant philosophical, societal and cultural transformations, focusing on human corporeality and its envisioned merging with NT via the following means: technological modifications of the body in which technology replaces or augments bodily functions by means of surgical interventions (implants, prostheses), the use of technologies which modify the body without such interventions (non-invasive neurostimulation technologies), and the coupling of humans and artefacts via brain-machine interface technology. Our examination will (i) integrate philosophical analysis of embodiment and agency as core concepts regarding mechanised corporeality, (ii) vision assessment for the understanding of the overall social and cultural significance of NTs and of broader visions of the future of the human body, (iii) socio-empirical research in using quantitative and qualitative methods to better understand the practices and points of of view of actual or potential users of NT and people closely working with them, (iv) participatory reflection on NTs including art-science interactions and other experimental practices, and (v) a socio-theoretical approach which focuses on ability expectations. Our collaboration aims to contribute to ELSA research by providing a new basis for ethical reflection and help responsibly steer NT innovation.
Project
INOPRO is one of two new BMBF innovation clusters involving partners from industry (small and medium enterprises), academia and the healthcare sector that aim to develop highly innovative intelligent prostheses, orthotics, interactive micro-implants and other medical products. INOPRO will investigate ways to produce intelligent prostheses and orthotics that actively adapt to user needs, help improve quality of life and enable intuitive communication between device and user. To these ends, the systems to be developed must be capable of adapting to the behavior of the user and the environment. Simpler and more intuitive control, combined with sensory feedback and active assistance to compensate for lost abilities, should increase user safety and confidence. Lightweight, comfortable and low-noise systems with an appealing, anthropomorphic appearance will be used to give the prosthetic limbs an even more natural look and feel. Within the INOPRO consortium, ITAS is responsible for its own cross-cutting project (“ELSI of Intelligent Orthotics and Prosthetics”), a work package that is linked directly to the coordination of the overall project and will be pursued in close cooperation with all sub-projects, including one led by the High Performance Humanoid Technologies (H²T) Lab at KIT’s Institute for Anthropomatics and Robotics (IAR). The ITAS work package is intended primarily to identify, analyze and give practical consideration to the ethical, legal and societal implications (ELSI) of the research and development conducted in the overall project. Besides questions of applied ethics with respect to the individual and society (e.g. questions of distributive justice and equity of supply), the ITAS work package will focus on further aspects of technology assessment and responsible research and innovation, such as user acceptance and cultural and socioeconomic aspects. In this respect, the ways in which the body is perceived, both by the users themselves and by others, and the manner in which prostheses are incorporated into everyday life are relevant, as are the ways in which society perceives prostheses and physical handicaps. With a view to obtaining a comprehensive understanding of ELSI, the results of all kinds of different research fields and disciplines – e.g. medical ethics, law, rehabilitation sciences, disability studies, health technology assessment and various social, cultural and policy studies – will be taken into account with respect to the topics of the overall project. http://www.itas.kit.edu/english/projects_coen16_inopro.php