Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften http://www.oeaw.ac.at de-at Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Wed, 30 Nov 2022 16:40:13 +0100 Wed, 30 Nov 2022 16:40:13 +0100 Typo3 news-24664 Mon, 05 Jun 2023 14:09:00 +0200 Save the Date: TA23 - Juni 5-6 2023 https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/save-the-date-ta23-05-06-juni-2023 The 22nd Conference on Technology Assessment will be held on June 5-6, 2023 at the ÖAW campus. More to come .. News Startseite_DE Veranstaltungen Konferenzen news-24859 Fri, 25 Nov 2022 11:34:22 +0100 To be continued: TA in the Austrian Parliament https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/fortsetzung-folgt-ta-im-oesterreichischen-parlament The second round has begun: On November 22, 2022, ITA, in cooperation with its German institute ITAS/KIT, was awarded the contract by the Austrian Parliament to continue the consulting project. The House will be presented with future topics twice a year for the next three years. Studies will follow. The success story continues. Cybersecurity, intermediate energy storage, light pollution, and more than a hundred other topics have been presented to politicians and the public by the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) together with its previous partner AIT over the past four and a half years. Studies were commissioned from several topic proposals. 

"I am very pleased about the award of the parliament. This is a reward for our efforts so far. We have started with a new, excellent team and will be able to advise the members of parliament in the best possible way", ITA Director Michael Nentwich is pleased to say. Continuing to advise the National Council on foresight and technology assessment beyond the initial pilot phase is a clear signal that evidence-based policy advice is important to the National Council, as it is to more and more parliaments around the world, and must be institutionalized. "From my perspective, this is an exciting process of continuous change in parliamentary culture. We will continue to provide biannual monitoring reports on important socio-technical developments relevant to Austria and parliament in the coming years."

Monitoring 2.0

During the award procedure, suggestions were made on how monitoring should be optimized in the future. Nentwich: "For the first time, quantitative content analysis methods will also be used. The details will be discussed and determined with the MPs in the coming weeks. What is already certain is that the presentation of future topics on the parliamentary website will be completely redesigned."

Studies to follow

From these semi-annual reports, the MPs can select particular topics for which in-depth studies are requested. In the last project period, for example, these included 5G and blackout, two highly explosive topics for society.

Strong partner

For the new edition, the ITA relies on a new, albeit familiar, partner from the TA family: "We have been able to gain a new, extremely competent partner in the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis in Karlsruhe. ITAS has been running the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag for decades, so it has the greatest possible experience advising parliaments."

News Startseite_DE ITA-Intern Project news
news-24761 Thu, 17 Nov 2022 00:22:28 +0100 Wie sicher sind wir vor der Technik? https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/wie-sicher-sind-wir-vor-der-technik Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien (IKT) entwickeln sich rasant weiter und stellen Politik und Regulierung vor große Herausforderungen. Welche neuen Maßnahmen oder Anpassungen braucht es in so einem bewegten Feld wie der KI? Das PANELFIT-Projektteam hat nach Antworten gesucht. „Sicherheit“ ist kein eindeutiger Begriff. Die vielen Facetten von Sicherheit führen zu rechtlicher Unsicherheit und verleiten zur missbräuchlichen Verwendung, etwa wenn private Unternehmen für den Einsatz neuer Technologien bestehende Datenschutzregelungen nicht ausreichend berücksichtigen. Für Johann Čas, Technikforscher am Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung der ÖAW, droht das Verhältnis von Privatheit und Freiheit aus dem Gleichgewicht zu geraten.

Im Projekt PANELFIT haben Čas und seine Kollegen vom ITA als Teil eines internationalen Konsortiums diese Problematik untersucht. „Der Fortbestand von Demokratien ist eine zentrale Voraussetzung für Sicherheit. Wenn Demokratien Bestand haben sollen, braucht es aber auch Gesetze, die ihre Grundsätze und Werte konsequent umsetzen, das gilt auch für den Bereich der IKTs“, betont Čas.

Im aktuellen ITA-Dossier „Braucht neue Technologie neues Recht?“ untersucht das PANELFIT-Team, ob bestehende Regelungen, wie etwa die Datenschutzgrundverordnung, ausreichend sind und welche neuen Maßnahmen oder Anpassungen es braucht, um ethischen Grauzonen bei der Nutzung von Künstlicher Intelligenz und Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien vorzubeugen.  

Hier geht’s zum Dossier „Brauchen neue Technologie neues Recht?“

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news-24646 Tue, 08 Nov 2022 13:46:54 +0100 Can artificial intelligence counter growing inequality? https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/kann-kuenstliche-intelligenz-wachsender-ungleichheit-entgegenwirken Poverty and the widening gap in income and wealth pose an enormous threat to social sustainability and political stability worldwide. During his five months residency in Brazil, Johann Čas (ITA) will explore whether and how artificial intelligence can contribute to sustainable and more equitable development.  


There are great hopes and fears associated with the development of AI technologies. One central and still open question is how AI systems can be developed and deployed in an ethical manner.

"So-called 'artificial intelligence' is hyped as a key technology for maintaining prosperity and competitiveness. But surprisingly little attention is paid to how AI could actually contribute to an equal distribution of wealth and prosperity" stresses Čas, who works at the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Academy of Sciences.

During his five-month research stay at the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) in Rio de Janeiro, he will therefore focus in particular on the question which different concepts of regulating artificial intelligence are suitable for mitigating the problems of increasing inequality at the national and global level. FGV is one of the most influential think tanks both in Latin America and globally.


The exchange will take place within the framework of the PRODIGEES project funded by the EU through the Horizon2020 program. PRODIGEES was funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program H2020-MSCA-RISE-2019 under grant agreement No. [873119].

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news-24644 Tue, 08 Nov 2022 12:01:17 +0100 European cooperation https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/europaeische-zusammenarbeit Where do we stand when the going gets tough? How can technology assessment (TA) help us prepare for a long-term crises? At the EPTA conference in Berlin, technology researchers and politicians discussed the role of TA in the midst of social and technological upheavals. How resilient are critical infrastructures such as communication networks or power supply? Where will the increasing role of artificial intelligence in the development and use of modern weapons lead us? And what role does technology play in dealing with climate change?

These and other current topics were intensively discussed at the annual meeting of the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA) network in Berlin on October 17. Under the title "Disruption in society - TA to the rescue?", the Office of Technology Assessment (TAB) at the German Bundestag welcomed members of parliament from several European countries.

How likely is a blackout?

In his keynote speech, Marc Elsberg talked about his work on his successful novel "Blackout”. He described possible consequences and as yet unsolved problems that could arise in such a situation. Jaro Krieger-Lamina from the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, presented the study on supply security and blackout precautions in the Austrian power grid, which was written by the ITA for the Austrian Parliament.

Austrian Member of Parliament Gerhard Deimek emphasized the valuable work of technology assessment for parliament. He said that it was essential to prepare for a wide variety of disasters. Therefore, the personal commitment of politicians and the population is also needed. This was also emphasized by Katri Liekkilä, Chairwoman of the Finnish Civil Protection Authority NESA. In the panel, she reported on examples of best practice in preparing the population for a crisis in Finland.

Dying forests, self-thinking weapon systems

Also discussed was the use of autonomous weapon systems. Which weapon may act autonomously, which may not, and how can the limits be enshrined in international law? Another panel focused on how to save Europe's forests, which are already suffering greatly from climate change, and preserve them for the future.

"Every day we are confronted with uncertainty, for example when it comes to our energy supply or our health," emphasizes ITA Director Michael Nentwich. "We cannot value international collaboration enough if we want to be ready to cope with technological change and take on the challenges we are currently facing."

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news-24549 Thu, 27 Oct 2022 13:07:40 +0200 Schöne neue Kulturwelt? - NTA-Tagung in Bern https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/schoene-neue-kulturwelt-nta-tagung-in-bern Wie verändert Digitalisierung das Wesen kultureller Ausdrucksformen und unser Verständnis davon, was Kultur ist? Diese und weitere Fragen stehen im Zentrum der NTA10 in Bern diskutiert zu der sie das Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung (ITA) der ÖAW herzlich einlädt! Die Digitalisierung transformiert alle Lebensbereiche, darunter auch die Kultur. Rund um das Thema gibt es eine Vielzahl an Fragen: Wie verändert sich die Beziehung zwischen Künstlerinnen und Künstlern und ihrem Publikum? Was bedeutet digitaler Wandel für die Auseinandersetzung des Publikums durch das Prisma der Kultur mit der Welt und somit auch für die Reflexion des Selbst?

Digitalisierung erzeugt auch neue Teilhabechancen und Teilhaberisiken. Wie wirkt es sich aus, dass zunehmend kommerzielle Plattformen als Vermittlungsinstanzen auftreten, sowohl für Kultur in ihrer Vielfalt als auch für Kunstschaffende? Wie verändern sich Orte kulturellen Schaffens oder der Bewahrung immaterieller und materieller Güter? Wie tangieren diese Entwicklungen die staatliche Förderung von Kultur? Zeigen sich diesbezüglich Unterschiede zwischen den Strategien in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz?

Diese und weitere Fragen werden im Rahmen der NTA10 in Bern diskutiert. Das Netzwerk wurde 2004 u.a. vom ITA mitbegründet mit dem Ziel, die Zusammenarbeit unter den TA-Forscherinnen und -Forschern zu fördern und TA in Wissenschaft, Politik, Wirtschaft und Öffentlichkeit bekannt zu machen.


News Startseite_DE OpenTA Konferenzen
news-23658 Tue, 04 Oct 2022 18:00:00 +0200 Digitalisierung, Mensch und Gesellschaft - Podiumsdiskussion, 4. Oktober, ÖAW https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/digitalisierung-mensch-und-gesellschaft-colloquium-digitale Digitalisierung bedeutet nicht zwingend Demokratie. Am 4. Oktober diskutieren ExpertInnen an der ÖAW zum Thema Digitalisierung im Demokratischen Diskurs: Wandelnder Widerspruch oder Wegbereiter neuer Wissenskultur? Sicherheitsexperte Stefan Strauß vom ITA ist mit dabei. Wissenskulturen und der Umgang mit Wissen sind maßgeblich für einen lebendigen demokratischen Diskurs. Die Digitalisierung hat gerade darauf vielfältige Auswirkungen. Um den technologischen Wandel zum Nutzen von Mensch und Gesellschaft zu gestalten, sind humanistische Grundprinzipien wie z.B. Meinungsfreiheit, Grundrechte, Aufklärung, Pluralismus oder freier Wissenszugang von zentraler Bedeutung. Gerade diese sind bei der aktuellen digitalen Transformation aber nicht zwingend inhärent, wie die Praxis zeigt.

Die Veranstaltung beleuchtet deshalb die Spannungsfelder und Synergien zwischen Digitalisierung, Demokratie und Wissenskultur im Antlitz eines digitalen Humanismus, der entschlossen zum Ziel hat, die Herausforderungen einer gerechten und demokratischen Gesellschaft mit dem Menschen im Zentrum des technologischen Wandels zu bewältigen.

Die Podiumsdiskussion findet in Kooperation mit der "Digitaler-Humanismus"-Initiative des WWTF statt.



Christiane Wendehorst | Präsidentin der historisch-philosophischen Klasse der ÖAW
Michael Stampfer | Geschäftsführer des Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs- und Technologiefonds 
Georg Vogeler | Professor für Digital Humanities, Universität Graz
Stefan Strauß | Senior Academy Scientist im Forschungsbereich „digital technology, democracy and society“, Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung, ÖAW


Moderation und Konzeption: Stefan Strauß, Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung (ITA) der ÖAW und Georg Vogeler, Universität Graz

Ulrike Zartler | Professorin für Familiensoziologie, Universität Wien
Ingrid Schneider | Professorin für Politikwissenschaft, Universität Hamburg
Christoph Bareither | Professor für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft, Universität Tübingen 
Anke Berghaus-Sprengel | Direktorin, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt 
Mareike König | stellvertretende Direktorin, Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris
Christoph Neuberger | geschäftsführender Direktor, Weizenbaum-Institut für die vernetzte Gesellschaft, Berlin, sowie Professor für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin

Im Anschluss an die Veranstaltung wird zu einem Empfang geladen.
Es gelten die zum Zeitpunkt der Veranstaltung gültigen COVID-Maßnahmen.

News Startseite_DE Veranstaltungen hybrid
news-24069 Wed, 28 Sep 2022 09:00:00 +0200 Was geht ohne Internet? https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/default-e594307514 Wie würde sich ein anhaltender, großflächiger Internet-Ausfall auswirken? Das Forschungsprojekt ISIDOR untersuchte die Situation in Österreich und präsentiert am 28. September die Ergebnisse. Zahllose Kommunikationskanäle, Dienstleistungen und Tools benötigen das Internet. Was aber passiert, wenn diese gar nicht oder nur eingeschränkt zur Verfügung stehen? Steht Österreich dann still? Ist das eine Situation, auf die man vorbereitet sein kann? Und was bedeutet das für das staatliche Krisen- und Katastrophenschutzmanagement?

Im Rahmen des Forschungsprojekts ISIDOR, an dem auch das Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung (ITA) der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW) beteiligt war, haben Expert*innen die Lage kritischer Infrastrukturen bewertet. Die einzelnen Sektoren wurden getrennt betrachtet, ein Modell ermöglichte eine sektorübergreifende Darstellung, die kausale Zusammenhänge und wechselseitige Abhängigkeiten abbildet. So konnten Erkenntnisse über die Lage nach einem Ausfall erlangt und Merkmale vernetzter Krisen identifiziert werden. Handlungsempfehlungen auf nationaler und organisationsinterner Ebene sind eines der wesentlichen Ergebnisse des Projekts.

Präsentation der Projektergebnisse

Das über die FFG im Sicherheitsforschungsprogramm KIRAS vom Bundesministerium für Landwirtschaft, Regionen und Tourismus geförderte Projekt wurde vom Institut für Produktionswirtschaft und Logistik an der Universität für Bodenkultur koordiniert. Weitere Projektpartner waren neben dem ITA das Bundesministerium für Inneres, das Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort, sowie die Unternehmen Mar Adentro, Repuco und Infraprotect.

News Startseite_DE Event news OpenTA Veranstaltungen Gregor Konicar Walter Peissl Jaro Krieger-Lamina Walter Peissl Hafen Freudenau
news-24070 Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:19:23 +0200 exploREsearch - bei der European Resarchers Night! https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/exploresearch-bei-der-european-resarchers-night Am 30. September geht ab 15 Uhr an der Universität für Angewandte Kunst die European Researchers Night über die Bühne! Das ITA ist mit dem Thema "Mit Online-Shopping zu gesunder Ernährung?" mit dabei. Gestalte Deine App mit!

Den Klimawandel stoppen, für eine bessere Zukunft umweltbewusst leben, lokal einkaufen – viele wollen es. Gleichzeitig hat die Corona-Zeit das Shopping im Internet boomen lassen. Passt das zusammen?  Am ITA-Stand haben wir Gelegenheit, uns unsere Shopping-Gewohnheiten gemeinsam anzusehen und auch darüber nachzudenken, in was für einer Welt wir leben wollen. 

Außerdem wollen wir mit Dir gemeinsam eine App für gesunde Ernährung gestalten. Stell Dir vor Dein Handy sagt Dir in Sekunden, wo du verpackungslos oder biologisch einkaufen kannst. Jedes Jahr werden alleine in Österreich viele tausende Tonnen Food Waste (Essensabfälle) produziert. Was kann die Digitalisierung beitragen, um Verschwendung entgegenzusteuern?

Tauche in die Welt der Forschung ein

Komm’ zur diesjährigen European Researchers’ Night, einem Mega-Event, der europaweit jedes Jahr in vielen europäischen Städten stattfindet, und das Ziel verfolgt, Groß und Klein spannende Einblicke in verschiedenste Bereiche der Forschung und Wissenschaft zu eröffnen!


News Startseite_DE
news-24068 Thu, 22 Sep 2022 13:21:08 +0200 COVID und das Impfwesen einst und heute https://www.oeaw.ac.at/detail/veranstaltung/covid-und-das-impfwesen-eins-und-heute Ein ÖAW-Symposium beleuchtet im Spiegel von Corona die Entwicklung des Impfwesens. Karen Kastenhofer (ITA) hält eine Session zu "Chancen aus der Pandemie". News Startseite_DE Covid-19 News news-23440 Thu, 04 Aug 2022 11:56:45 +0200 Digital Futures - exciting insights at the European TA conference https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/digital-futures-exciting-insights-at-the-european-ta-conference From July 25 to 27, the international tech assessment community met in Karlsruhe to discuss the digital transformation and its challenges for politics, society, economy, environment and research. The ITA was represented with Doris Allhutter's keynote on discrimination through algorithms and other presentations, the event was hosted by ITAS, our German partner organization. "It was a wonderfully organized, exciting event that offered the opportunity to look beyond the European TA perspective," says a visibly enthusiastic Titus Udrea, who is one of the researchers from the Institute of Technology Assessment of the Austrian Academy of sciences on location. In one of his three talks, he presented a tool for AI startups which was co-developed by the ITA: "Startups are mostly about production and profit, but when AI comes into play, ethical aspects must also be included. A self-assessment tool will help companies answer essential questions and address unknown risks in a timely manner," he explained.

Star author Payal Arora gave the opening keynote

The three-day event was kicked off by Payal Arora, author of the book "The Next Billion Users" (Harvard Press), with a keynote on inclusive design: "I'm interested in what understanding of privacy and identity young people have who have grown up with AI. I see my role as exploring what people's needs and requirements are for technology," she says in an interview with TATuP.

The two other keynotes were given by Jeanette Hoffmann (Free University Berlin), who analysed the concept of democracy from the perspective of self-learning machines, and ITA researcher Doris Allhutter. In her talk, Allhutter presented the problem of discrimination when entire social classes, such as people who are not employed or those with low incomes, are categorized by algorithms.

People and machines

Technology researcher Mahshid Sotoudeh from the ITA emphasizes the importance of transdisciplinarity in regulating digitization: "We need to look at societal challenges beyond disciplines. Take the topic of distance learning, for example: it's not just about technical innovations, but also about social aspects of learning as a core function in society, and about criteria for the fair assessment of performance.

Also participating from the ITA were Steffen Bettin with a presentation on the side effects and risks of the energy transition and Stefan Strauß with a presentation on Deep Automation Bias and Critical AI Literacy. "AI brings new forms of automation. Understanding this new automation and managing its risks for our future requires more problem awareness. Critical AI literacy is therefore essential," Strauß said.

News Startseite_DE OpenTA Steffen Bettin Titus Udrea Mahshid Sotoudeh Stefan Strauß Doris Allhutter
news-23431 Wed, 03 Aug 2022 13:27:29 +0200 Augmented reality in public spaces? https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/augmented-reality-in-public-spaces What does the world look like through virtual glasses? An ITA project explored the merging of virtual and physical spaces, click here for the short report. Physical and digital public spaces are increasingly merging. The use of augmented reality (AR) via glasses, contact lenses or smartphones is expected to increase. Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes of the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences has investigated how this development could be shaped politically and socially as part of the project "Augmented Reality in the Park."

Already, countless pieces of information on almost any place in the world are available by using smart phones, smart glasses or other applications. Tech giants often provide us with information that is not objective but commercially driven, ie. which restaurants to visits, or which shops to buy in. If this trend continues, public space could evolve in a number of ways, not all of them favorable. In the new ITA Dossier "Augmented Reality in Public Spaces" Gudowsky gives as a glimpse as to what to expect in the future.

Augmented Reality in Public Space - Download ITA Dossier No. 66

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news-23377 Tue, 26 Jul 2022 11:29:39 +0200 RECIPES: EU guide to risk assessment of new technologies published https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/recipes-eu-guide-to-risk-assessment-of-new-technologies-published How safe are new technologies and who’s to judge? When is precaution necessary, when is bold innovation needed? A team of researchers from the ITA looked at precaution in nanotechnologies for the EU project RECIPES. The EU project team has now published the final RECIPES Guidance for application of the precautionary principle in the EU. Download the RECIPES Guidance for application of the precautionary principle in the EU here!

As part of the RECIPES team, a total of nine countries have analysed the regulation of the use of new technologies in areas such as genetic engineering, artificial intelligence or microplastics. André Gazsó, Anna Pavlicek and Daniela Fuchs from the Institute of Technology Assessment at the Austrian Academy of Sciences conducted a case study on the application of the precautionary principle to nanotechnologies. They consider diversity and practicality as essential for risk assessment: "Responsible innovation should promote technologies that protect people and the environment equally well. This requires experts from many different disciplines. That way, we can build a stable and safe assessment of risks."

"Even though nanomaterials are already used in cosmetics or in food packaging, we still don't know exactly what their actual consequences are. This uncertainty is exactly why timely risk management is needed," says Gazsó comparing the precautionary principle to a compass, as it opens up possibilities for sensibly managing the safe use of new technologies despite their high complexity. "At the ITA, we practice precaution, for example, in the NanoTrust initiative, which in Austria eventually gave rise to the Environment Ministry's Nano Action Plan”, he continues.

EU guide for politics and industry

The resulting guideline draws lessons from the various case studies and makes recommendations. The primary addressees are EU decision-makers and agencies, as well as institutions involved in risk assessment or governance of science, technology and innovation. The document also includes all policy briefs produced during the 3 ½-year life of RECIPES.

The RECIPES (REconciling sCience, Innovation and Precaution through the Engagement of Stakeholders) project, funded by the European Commission, was based on the idea that the responsible application of the precautionary principle and the consideration of innovation aspects are not necessarily in conflict. It aimed to reconcile innovation and precaution. The guideline is intended to ensure precaution while promoting innovation.

News NanoTrust News Startseite_DE OpenTA
news-21422 Mon, 25 Jul 2022 09:17:00 +0200 5th European Technology Assessment Conference (ETAC5) https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/etac5 In July 2022, the international TA community will meet in Karlsruhe to discuss the digital transformation and its challenges for policy, society, economy, environment, and research. Now, we are very happy to announce that the conference will take place from 25th to 27th July 2022 at the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe.

The registration reopened today. Although there is a strong emphasis on the physical event in Karlsruhe, we added an option to attend the conference online.

Please find additional information on the conference website.


News OpenTA Veranstaltungen Konferenzen
news-23363 Thu, 21 Jul 2022 13:53:00 +0200 Hey Google! Die beinahe grenzenlose Macht einer Suchmaschine https://soundcloud.com/makro-mikro/hey-google-die-beinahe-grenzenlose-macht-einer-suchmaschine-makro-mikro63 Wie konnte Google zu dem Imperium werden, das es heute ist, und welche Probleme gehen mit dieser Vormachtstellung einher? Suchmaschinenexpertin Astrid Mager erklärt im ÖAW-Podcast wie Google groß wurde, was Metasuchmaschinen sind und warum eine öffentlich finanzierte Suchmaschine den europäischen Werten am besten entsprechen würde. Google war die erste Suchmaschine, die einen Algorithmus einsetzte, der Backlinks als Qualitätskriterium für eine Website heranzog. In seiner Anfangszeit war der heutige Internetgigant jedoch keineswegs der Platzhirsch, sondern eher eine Alternative zu besser etablierten Suchmaschinen. Wie und warum hat sich das geändert? Wie konnte Google zu dem Imperium werden, das es heute ist und welche Probleme gehen mit dieser Vormachtstellung eines einzelnen kommerziellen Unternehmens einher?
Astrid Mager ist Technikfolgenforscherin an der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Sie beschäftigt sich intensiv mit Suchmaschinenalgorithmen, deren Bias und möglichen Alternativen zu Google. Im Podcast erklärt sie unter anderem, wie Google groß wurde, was Metasuchmaschinen sind und warum eine öffentlich finanzierte Suchmaschine den europäischen Werten am besten entsprechen würde.
Podcast der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Gestaltung und Moderation: Iris Böhm
Sound: Axel Hirn
Bild: Unsplash

News Startseite_DE OpenTA
news-23260 Mon, 11 Jul 2022 11:49:27 +0200 Visit our new ITA Youtube-Channel! https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/visit-our-new-ita-youtube-channel We have transferred our video content from Vimeo to YouTube! In addition to the latest videos on nanotechnologies or the launch of the GlobalTA network, you can find reports and videos on blockchain, surveillance, delivery drones and many other ITA topics. "We are pleased that we now also have the opportunity to present our videos on YouTube," says ITA Director Michael Nentwich. "As an institute that attaches particular importance to data security and privacy protection, we hesitated for a long time, but the recent changes in data protection regulations have made it acceptable for us. The Austrian Academy of Sciences (OEAW) also already has a lively YouTube channel. We look forward to networking with them and to many exciting video projects in the future."

Especially during the long lockdown phases of the pandemic, video contributions have established themselves as a very good way to disseminate content - including scientific content - by reaching people everywhere, including at home in the home office. The Austrian Academy of Sciences has started to record purely online as well as hybrid events and make them available on its YouTube channel. We at the ITA already started recording events and will keep this format to enable more people to listen in.

News NanoTrust News Startseite_DE Covid-19 News OpenTA
news-23216 Tue, 05 Jul 2022 11:22:46 +0200 How vulnerable is the digitized society? https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/how-vulnerable-is-the-digitized-society The digital transformation brings progress and acceleration. That also makes us more and more dependent on it. A new ITA study examines how technological dependencies affect the vulnerability of society. From energy supply to modern household appliances, transport and mobility to healthcare - all these areas are already dependent on digital technologies. But what happens when the infrastructures behind these systems suddenly stop working? Only recently, for example, the Austrian province of Carinthia had to cope with the consequences of a massive cyberattack.

In a new project, the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences is investigating the institutional, but also the individual effects of this development. "In our own households, for example, we come into contact with digitalization through smart meters, IT security or networked vehicles. In addition to many advantages, we can also become overwhelmed and loose control," emphasizes project manager Stefan Strauß.

The aim of the study is to examine the developments and consequences of the digitization of social infrastructures. The researchers will also look at the applicability of existing frameworks, such as those in the area of risk management, in order to identify new challenges. "Digitization makes our infrastructure more flexible and dynamic. At the same time, complex interconnections can cause a system that has just been completely intact to collapse completely. That makes it all the more important for us to examine impacts on society," Strauß emphasizes.

News Startseite_DE OpenTA
news-23169 Wed, 29 Jun 2022 12:38:52 +0200 Tanja Sinozic: "Startups can and should cultivate responsibility in AI" https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/tanja-sinozic-startups-can-and-should-cultivate-responsibility-in-ai AI products and services are spreading rapidly and have a major impact on society. The ITA has developed a self-assessment tool that companies can use to analyze the ethical and social consequences of their products. The goal is to establish a culture of responsibility in this sector. What consequences does the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence have for society and companies? Numerous Austrian startups are developing technologies and products based on artificial intelligence methods. However, they often lack the know-how and methods to assess the consequences of the developed technologies. This results in risks for both society and the startup itself. The Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences has worked with Austrian AI startups to develop a prototype for a self-assessment tool.

Economic factors vs. ethical implications

In the new ITA dossier, project leader Tanja Sinozic describes the challenges: "Startups are naturally under pressure to make a profit. Thinking about ethical aspects requires awareness. Assessing yourself, asking yourself: what are the consequences of putting my innovation into the world, is difficult." But taking responsibility also benefits the startups themselves: "If an AI startup gets into the media because of a gender bias in its algorithms, for example, this can quickly damage its reputation and possibly jeopardize the survival of a small company," says Sinozic.

In workshops, the ITA team asked companies about their accountability culture and explored needs. The result is a self-assessment tool designed to help companies integrate social and ethical considerations about their products into their corporate culture. To do this, companies also need to be heard, finds Sinozic: "Austria should actively engage in dialogue with startups. In any case, creating a conscious approach to one's own product is essential."

News Startseite_DE OpenTA
news-23166 Wed, 29 Jun 2022 10:39:08 +0200 Toolbox for TA https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/werkzeugkiste-fuer-ta Video: International experts discussed the importance of TA and the direction of the new TA project at the OECD-BNCT workshop in Vienna from June 7-9. Vienna June 9, 2022: André Gazsó from ITA invited to the two-day workshop of the OECD Working Group on Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies "BNCT" in the "alte Burse" of the ÖAW. The workshop focused on the mindset and implementation of the new TA project. International experts from several organizations from Europe, Asia and America participated and discussed the functioning and integration of technology assessment in their respective fields of work.

André Gazsó (ITA-ÖAW): „The project is on the role of Technology Assessment especially forward looking processes in their relation and as a mediator in developing new materials and new technologies.”

David WINICKOFF, Secretary of the Working Party on Bio-, Nano- and Converging Technology (BNCT): “Technology has always been a focal point in innovation policy. At the OECD we are sensing a demand for tools and techniques such as Technology Assessment to be able to - in policy - deal with the rapidity of change and the importance that many feel technology has in driving economies, in driving culture, look at digitalization, bio-tech and gene editing that we need sharper tools and TA is one set of tools.”

Luis VISEU MELO, IST Lisboa, Professor, Department of Physics: “Innovation is accelerating. You are getting new technologies up reaching the market much more quickly. Witch means that you must do the assessment very quickly when you want to avoid problems, risks and do the proper risk assessment before the harm is done.”

Sarah HARVEY, US Government Accountability Office (GAO), Assistant Director, Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics: “The GAO does allot with Technology Assessment. Our primary role is to provide fact based information to our policy makers. We follow our TA handbook which helps outline the process to design create our message and create our products.”

Douglas ROBINSON, CNRS, Deputy Director of the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary studies of Science Innovation and Society (LISIS): “Much of responsible research in innovation would be to be doing TA constantly. But also you have grand global crisis like climate change and pandemics where you have to rapid response in terms of identifying technologies and solutions but also doing that in a responsible way.”

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news-23172 Mon, 13 Jun 2022 14:39:00 +0200 ITA dossier: Avoiding Blackouts, but How? https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/ita-dossier-blackout-vermeiden-aber-wie We need more and more electricity. But how stable is our grid? The ITA has taken a look at what is needed to constructively shape the transformation of the energy infrastructure and prevent blackouts. The highlights of the parliamentary study are now available as a dossier. A blackout is defined as an "unexpected and unforeseeable total collapse of the power supply network" lasting longer than 12 hours. This scenario is currently not very likely in Austria, as the energy supply is considered stable. Nevertheless, it is important to be prepared. A team around Doris Allhutter and Stefan Strauß from the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences analyzed precautionary measures in a study commissioned by the Austrian Parliament. 

Extreme heat periods, the switch to renewable energy sources, the energy requirements of digital devices - all of these are driving up our demand. For Stefan Strauß, the focus is on responding to major changes in good time. 

The highlights of the study are summarized in the ITA dossier "Secure power supply in the energy transition". In order for Austria to achieve its goal of using only more renewable energy sources by 2030, it needs not only to expand the power grid, but also to train IT specialists and be flexible enough to respond to climate changes. Click here for the dossier 

News Startseite_DE OpenTA
news-23238 Mon, 06 Jun 2022 14:47:00 +0200 Google's All Power - The Difficult Road to Open Data https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/die-allmacht-googles-der-schwierige-weg-zu-offenen-daten Google's supremacy is problematic in many aspects. Real alternatives would require open access to data, which in turn poses legal problems. A new ITA dossier sheds light on how it would still be possible to compete with Google. Search engines, first and foremost Google, do not present objective results. Google's business model is based on data trading and has been outlined with the term surveillance capitalism. In the ITA dossier "New Paths towards Open Data", ITA researcher and search engine expert Astrid Mager and political scientist Fynn Semken ask how discrimination can be avoided and what alternatives exist.

For the authors, one of the central issues is the protection of individual data protection rights. But this is precisely what makes it difficult, because data-sharing mandates are needed to enable smaller companies to share data. However, these are in conflict with individual data protection. One way, therefore, is to establish new anonymization techniques to make data accessible, but not assignable.


News Startseite_DE OpenTA
news-22934 Thu, 02 Jun 2022 14:22:20 +0200 Monitoring the future — ­Parliament receives latest ITA report https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/monitoring-the-future-parliament-receives-latest-ita-report Resistance to antibiotics, artificial snow, AI diplomacy — the ITA analyses which future topics are important for Austria in a current monitoring report for the Austrian Parliament. Can public participation raise awareness for the big issues of our time? What are the best ways out of phenomena like persistent pollutants or resistance to antibiotics? Is green financing really green, or does it only serve fiscal advantages? And how do we deal with artificial intelligence assisting us in European diplomacy, for example through speech and text analytics?

The new monitoring report by the parliamentary working group ITA — Institute of Technology Assessment of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and AIT Austrian Institute of Technology sheds light on these and other essential questions. The May 2022 monitoring report contains these new ITA topics.

  1. pathways out of antibiotic resistance
  2. persistent pollutants
  3. AI diplomacy
  4. digital health applications
  5. synthetic data

Since mid-2017, Parliament has already been receiving external scientific support in the area of foresight and technology assessment. The biannual monitoring reports provide scientifically sound information on technological developments and trends.

News Startseite_DE Walter Peissl Michael Nentwich
news-22861 Wed, 25 May 2022 12:59:07 +0200 We have moved! https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/we-have-moved The ITA is now part of the new ÖAW campus in the center of Vienna. After extensive renovation work, the Institute of Technology Assessment is now located at the newly opened Campus of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Our new address is:

Bäckerstraße 13
1010 Vienna, Austria

With the Campus Academy in the Old University Quarter in downtown Vienna, the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) has created a new place of knowledge, exchange and research.

Find out more here www.oeaw.ac.at/175-jahre and on Youtube in the video:

"The new Campus Academy of the ÖAW in the heart of Vienna" (in German).


News Startseite_DE ITA-Intern
news-22022 Sat, 07 May 2022 11:22:00 +0200 Follow the Science? Policy Advice in Times of Crisis https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/follow-the-science-policy-advice-in-times-of-crisis Author Alexander Bogner sheds light on the struggle for "better knowledge" in times of crisis, and on why good policy needs more than scientific facts in this new ITA Dossier. Whether it's Corona or the climate crisis: in many controversial issues, there is battle over knowledge. Scientific expertise is of great importance in these disputes.

For Alexander Bogner, sociologist at the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and author of the book "Die Epistemierung des Politischen - Wie die Macht des Wissens die Demokratie gefährdet" (The Epistemization of Politics - How the Power of Knowledge Endangers Democracy), the popular saying "Follow the science!" falls short: "Politics is more than just reacting to facts. We therefore need policy advice that takes knowledge and value issues into account."

In his new ITA Dossier, Bogner explains the main thesis of his book: "Independent policy advice is essential, especially in times of crisis. But when we do technology assessment, we also have to factor in public participation. Lay knowledge also plays a significant role in crises, and political decisions should always be based on multiple sources," Bogner is convinced.

News Startseite_DE OpenTA
news-22493 Thu, 05 May 2022 14:39:01 +0200 Mit einem Klick zum Glück? https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/mit-einem-klick-zum-glueck Die Lange Nacht der Forschung ist wieder da und das ITA ist dabei! Am 20. Mai geht es bei uns im neuen ÖAW-Campus um die Folgen von Online-Shopping, die Macht von Künstlicher Intelligenz und andere brennende gesellschaftliche Fragen. Online-Shopping, unsichtbare Nanoteilchen, mächtige KI

Vom Sofa aus einkaufen ist bequem. Doch die Bestellung nach Hause bedeutet oft längere Transportwege bzw. schlechte Arbeitsbedingungen für den Versand.  Wenn Geschäfte schließen, betrifft das außerdem unsere Jobs und das Stadtbild. Wärt ihr bereit, auf umweltfreundliche Alternativen umzusteigen und ab und zu beim Laden an der Ecke einzukaufen? Wir haben Wiener Schüler*innen gefragt und diskutieren auf der Langen Nacht die Ergebnisse unseres Workshops.

Vom ITA mit dabei sind außerdem Expert*innen, die sich mit Künstlicher Intelligenz und ihrer Macht über uns befassen: Was wissen wir über Überwachungsalgorithmen von Google, Facebook und Co. und wie sie unser Einkaufs- und Onlineverhalten steuern? Systeme entscheiden über uns. Wie die ihnen zugrunde liegenden Algorithmen funktionieren, ist oft nicht nachvollziehbar. Wie kann man den Einsatz von KI so gestalten, dass Menschen dabei nicht entmündigt werden?

Über die Umwelt geht es beim Thema Nanotechnologien, zu dem das ITA forscht. Gefährden Nanopartikel die Umwelt? Können Nanomaterialien in Solarpanelen Nachhaltigkeit fördern? All diese Fragen beantwortet unser Nano-Team für Euch.

Jede Technik hinterlässt Spuren in der Gesellschaft. Technik hat Folgen – kommt und diskutiert am 20. Mai mit den Forscher*innen des Instituts für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung der ÖAW!

Lange Nacht der Forschung 2022 - ITA Standort

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news-22373 Thu, 28 Apr 2022 09:56:40 +0200 Are we being disempowered through Artificial Intelligence? https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/are-we-being-disempowered-through-artificial-intelligence An ITA Study for the Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK) shows the power of AI over consumers. In a press conference, AK and ITA criticise the often incomprehensible decisions made by algorithms and call for a more far-reaching EU law. Artificial intelligence (AI) is already an integral part of many everyday applications, from search engines to loans. How decisions are made is often unclear. At a press conference on Thursday, the Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK) presented a study by the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The authors ask how comprehensible artificial intelligence is and demand more transparency to enable the foresight of negative effects or also – to settle damages already done.

EU efforts fall short

"The EU is currently regulating the legal framework for an AI law, but is forgetting about the consumers", criticises AK consumer protector Daniela Zimmer. "AI can be useful, but it can also be socially explosive, for example if a numerical value calculated by AI reduces life chances. Therefore, consumers need protection against the erosion of their fundamental rights and freedoms, against intransparency, discrimination and other risks of harm posed by analytics software," says Zimmer, and calls for an amendment of the EU draft for a new AI law.

Project leader Walter Peissl, who co-wrote the study together with ITA researchers Daniela Fuchs and Titus Udrea, is concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the spread of AI systems: "It is not clearly defined what AI includes. It is not just a matter of a too narrow - purely technical - definition that would leave many applications unregulated. The interests of consumers are neglected in both the development and regulation of AI. However, transparency about the algorithms used is necessary and also possible. If these requirements are not met, the use of AI should be avoided, because the responsibility must remain with the people," says Peissl.

Social effects of AI just as important as economic success

Above all, it is important to understand that every technology also leaves its mark on society: "AI decisions that are not transparent or perceived as unfair can divide society and endanger democracy," stresses Zimmer. One of numerous recommedations given in the study is to generally register AI systems whose decisions affect humans and to certify them according to expected risk. That would strengthen consideration of consumer interest, says Peissl.

"We have to ask ourselves how and with what consequences AI is used in everyday life, because our social interaction with each other is being massively reshaped by it," Peissl emphasises. As examples, he mentions credit scores when granting loans or automated application procedures as well as microtargeting activities in social networks. "We must therefore always consider AI in a social context, and this must also be laid down as a law."

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news-22336 Tue, 26 Apr 2022 13:02:08 +0200 What is Pop-Up Housing and why do we need it https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/what-is-pop-up-housing-and-why-do-we-need-it Natural disasters, migration due to crises - temporary forms of housing can provide relief in all these situations. A team of researchers has designed various models for "pop-up housing" in Vienna that are tailored to different needs. "It was essential that the housing forms we devise are sustainable, i.e. that we use environmentally friendly materials for them, that they are low-waste, water- and energy-saving and that we can set them up and take them down again quickly," emphasises Gloria Rose from the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The result of the project "Pop-Up housing" are six housing models that are adapted to such different target groups as students, refugees, people with impairments or people in social crises.

Protection from extreme weather conditions

The Life on Track(s) - Tinytainer model can be used, for example, in the event of a flood disaster: "We are converting freight containers for this purpose, which can accommodate about 40 people at short notice. They can be quickly moved on rails to the place of action and are equipped with electricity, water and heating", explains Rose. The "Beat the Heat" model is designed to provide people with temporary shelter from the heat in naturally cooled rooms.

Social connection

Then there is the "Life Sharing to go" model: an old factory building that offers private accommodation, a communal kitchen and generous space to interact with or even learn from fellow residents. "Not only accommodation, but also the acquisition of skills and integration into society and the labour market play a role here," says Rose.

Using empty space and vacant areas

In the "DonAutonom" scenario, living space for a maximum of three months is made available from freight containers with autonomous energy supply and water treatment. People who like to experiment with self-sufficiency options could be accommodated here. In the "Flat-Pack" model, wooden modules in commercial spaces give rise to living units. With the "Gap Module", on the other hand, an entire building can be temporarily erected on a fallow site at short notice.

No substitute for housing

"It is clear that these models do not replace housing. But they can be helpful in certain situations as a stop-gap measure and offer the opportunity to gain experience and learn about sustainable building and housing. They should therefore also be recognised and organised by those responsible," says Rose. What is special about this project is that the temporary housing models developed here are also experimental spaces. "We want to analyse the experiences of those who use pop-up housing and record them in such a way that an international exchange is possible. Pop-up housing is a global phenomenon that should also find space in Austria."

News Startseite_DE Gloria Rose
news-22274 Wed, 20 Apr 2022 12:17:05 +0200 Does digitalisation endanger the future of democracy? https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/does-digitalisation-endanger-the-future-of-democracy A new book focuses on the relationship between technology and freedom. Among the authors are Oxford professor Philipp Howard, Gerda Falkner (member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences) and ITA director Michael Nentwich. We conduct democratic elections by means of machines, form our opinions about world events thorough the internet and virtually do not exist if our data does not show up. Digitalisation has far-reaching consequences.

The recently published anthology „Digitalisierung und die Zukunft der Demokratie” (Nomos Verlag) contains contributions by editors Michael Nentwich and Alexander Bogner (both ITA, Austrian Academy of Sciences), Constanze Scherz and Michael Decker (both ITAS, Germany), as well as essays by critical voices such as Academy member Gerda Falkner, who observes a restriction of freedom of opinion in hidden methods such as "nudging", the technology philosopher Julian Nida-Rümelin or Oxford professor Philipp Howard, who strongly criticises the inactivity of social media in the case of fake news.

Social media as misleading echo chamber?

ITA researchers Alexander Bogner and Stefan Strauß argue in der article that social media can also promote the digital freedom of opinion of civil society. However, the fact that this same medium lends a voice not only to Greenpeace, but also serves as an echo chamber for right-wing or nationalistic groups is the dark side of this development, the authors say.

"This problem is intensified by the use of algorithms to maximise attention, cause outrage or increase the time spent on the respective platform instead of promoting discourse on socially relevant topics.  This leads to side effects such as manipulation and polarisation," emphasises Jaro-Krieger Lamina (ITA), who co-author an essay dealing with the effects of algorithms on opinion forming and political processes.

Deepfakes and polarisation threaten democracy

"The aim of the book is to offer answers to questions that concern us all," says ITA Director Michael Nentwich. "We are experiencing a world in which reality is often no longer separable from fiction, just think of deepfakes and misinformation spreading at lightning speed. How should we address the challenges posed by polarisation and the inaction of platform giants against it? When we look for answers, knowledge from technology assessment is just as relevant as philosophy, political science and law," Nentwich emphasises.

News Startseite_DE OpenTA
news-22204 Mon, 11 Apr 2022 13:31:36 +0200 5 Fragen an... Michael Nentwich https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBZYTWmnNqo Michael Nentwich, Leiter des Instituts für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung (ITA) der Akademie der Wissenschaften, spricht im TATuP-Interview über seinen Antrieb als Forscher, die sichtbaren Auswirkungen des flächendeckenden Einsatzes von KI auf unsere Gesellschaft und seine Idee für eine Agentur für Public Understanding of Science. (Host: Youtube) News Startseite_DE OpenTA Michael Nentwich news-21939 Thu, 17 Mar 2022 11:45:27 +0100 All about Nano – new ITA webpage goes online https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/news-1/all-about-nano-new-ita-webpage-goes-online Do nanoparticles endanger the environment? Can nanomaterials in solar panels promote sustainability? All about the ITA’s ongoing nano research, important events and current news can now be found on the new NanoTrust webpage. Nanomaterials are omnipresent, be it in industries such as aerospace or computer technology, or in the medical field. How nano and other innovative materials affect humans and the environment and what risks need to be assessed is a central field of the ITA’s research. All ITA activities on nanotechnologies and nanomaterials can now be found on the new NanoTrust webpage.

NanoTrust-Advanced, the continuation of the long-term project NanoTrust, investigates safety and risk-relevant aspects of nanomaterials and other innovative materials. "When we started in 2007, we were one of the first scientific institutions in Austria to research how nanotechnologies affects our health and our environment. On the new NanoTrust webpage we can now present the multitude of results that we gathered over this period, we are thrilled to see it happening!", emphasises project manager André Gaszó.

Research results are also published in the NanoTrust dossiers and in scientific journals. The annual NanoTrust conference focuses on global issues of nanoresearch.

News NanoTrust News Startseite_DE OpenTA Anna Pavlicek Gloria Rose André Gazsó