Graduate School and Research Center in Digital Sciences
 

Responsible Digital Innovation: Risks, Ethics and Technology

[RDI]
G General Teaching


Abstract

This course is an introduction to responsible innovation (RI), notably in the digital domain. It provides conceptual and empirical bases for students to approach technology and innovation by focusing on the issues they raise in terms of ethics and risks for human health and the environment. These issues will be addressed from a sociological perspective based on a multilevel analysis of stakeholders' action. Students will learn the key concepts of the RI field (eg sustainability, acceptability, anticipation, participation) as well as some technology assessment methods, that will be useful to better understand the contemporary challenges and controversies of the digital era. The seven sessions of the course will be structured around a permanent dialogue between researchers and practitioners of innovation. They will will cover a range of case studies including human exposure to EMF, smart meters for energy transition, e-waste and digital identity.

Teaching and Learning Methods: The course is organized as a workshop where the sessions will be held by social scientists and innovation practitioners from outside the academic field (industry, consulting). It is based on a participative pedagogy, requiring the active involvement of students, both in class (discussions, presentations, tutorials, MCQ) and at home (readings, web research, writing). A collective research work of knowledge formalization will be required throughout the course and presented at the end of the course.

Course Policies: On-time class attendance is mandatory and will be recorded at each session. Each not excused absence will reduce the final grade by three points. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will be counted absent. After three absences, even if excused, you will have to pass a final exam.

Bibliography

Van den Hoven et al., ResponsibleInnovation 1, Springer, 2014. D'autres lectures seront proposées pendant le cours.

Requirements

NO

Description

Whether in mobile phone, wireless networks, personal activity on the web, or energy transition, technological advances brought useful and unimagined new functionality. We know by now that many of these innovations also raise major issues in terms of sustainability, safety and security, health and well-being, privacy and accountability. A plurality of innovation stakeholders-regulators, industrial actors, scientists and civil society actors-share these concerns and develop actions to deal with them.

This course is an introduction to responsible innovation addressing it as an interactive process by which societal actors and innovators become mutually responsive to each other with a view to the (ethical) acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability of the innovation process and its marketable products (Von Schomberg, 2011).It provides conceptual and empirical bases for students to develop a socio-technical approach of digital technologies and innovation focused on the issues they raise in terms of ethics and risks for humans and the environment. These issues will be addressed from a sociological perspective based on a multilevel analysis of stakeholders' action. Four main socio-technical issues will be addressed: radiofrequencies and health, smart grids/smart metering and energy transition, personal data and ethics, e-waste and eco-design. On the side of action, we will cross levels of analysis and methods of investigation in order to deal with: (1) the macro level of public debates and major technical controversies related to the development of digital technologies; (2) the meso level of organizations, covering companies concerned with social acceptability of their innovations and regulators of new technologies; (3) the micro level of citizen engagement into the innovation process.   

Learning outcome: The course will provide key concepts of the field (eg sustainability, acceptability, anticipation, public participation) and empirical bases (technology assessment methods) that students can use in their future professional practices, as well as in their private and civic life, as social beings. Students will be able to: (1) develop a critical approach of digital innovation in the era of risk society and reflexivity; (2) systematically combine technical, economic, political and sociological perspectives to address the interrelationship of Technology, Environment and Society; (3) have a better understanding of the public opposition to some controversial technologies.

Nb hours: 21

Nb hours per week:3

Grading Policy: No final exam but continuous assessment (MCQ, reading notes) + research project.

Nb hours: 21.00
Nb hours per week: 3.00
Control form: No final exam but continuous assessment (MCQ, reading notes) + research project