The digital transformation is encompassing more and more areas of life, and the viability of society is increasingly dependent on the interaction of digitally networked technologies. A new ITA study prepares the current state of knowledge on digitization and vulnerability of societal infrastructures in selected areas and examines how technological dependencies affect the vulnerability of society.
From energy supply to modern household appliances, transport and mobility to healthcare - there is hardly an area not dependent on digital technologies. This has long-term consequences for the vulnerability and resilience of society. The ongoing digitization entails enormous structural changes and new challenges.
Besides expected benefits such as automation and optimization of processes, this development also leads to greater complexity and new technological dependencies. Consequently, digital networking can also drastically increase susceptibility to errors and failures of various kinds, as, e.g., shown by the rising number of malfunctions and attacks on digitally networked infrastructures. There is thus an increasing need for protection and more effort required to ensure the security and functionality of social infrastructures.
This has both – institutional and social implications at individual level - such as invasions of privacy, excessive demands and loss of control. Digitization plays an increasingly important role in power supply, for example. Opposed to advantages such as demand-based load balancing in the smart grid are disadvantages such as increasing security risks and IT-related malfunction or outages. At individual level, digitized infrastructures (e.g., smart meters, networked household appliances, networked vehicles) can also further exacerbate data protection and security problems. In the context of societal infrastructures, this ambivalence of digitization has been rather neglected in public discourse and requires closer examination.
05/2022 - 11/2022