Is development of technology driven by innovation and break through engineering (e.g., disruptive technologies as global game changers)? Or is technology development shaped by social processes, and incremental resulting from long-term agenda setting and road mapping processes? By taking a break and looking back into the future histories of crucial technologies, specific path dependencies and decade-old trajectories can be observed. Beside the history and narrative of each singular technology development, we are witnessing major trajectories of technology development; e.g., towards sustainable technologies and autonomous technologies, respectively. Thus, looking back in time offers enlightening insights into future possibilities. Crucial to this summer school is the idea, to confront today´s decisive technologies by back casting their future developments into possible pasts (case studies past/future high-performance computing; past/future green energy; past/future robotics).
The interdisciplinary Summer School seeks to understand the path dependencies of technology development and how much trajectories shape today´s technological development. It applies methods from Science and Technology Studies, Innovation Studies, as well as Technology Assessment to offer problem-oriented insights into the history of technology and engineering. In working groups, we will analyze the mutual interdependence of social, technological and political processes. The organizers of the Summer School aim for an engaged debate with all speakers and participants. The school combines panel talks, group works and outgoings to the university campus and labs. It addresses participants from different communities such as engineering, environmental sciences as well as from the broad STS-Community.
The school is jointly organized by lecturers from RWTH Aachen University, ETH Zurich, Politecnico di Milano, Chalmers University Gothenburg and guest speakers and will be held in 2022, September 5th to 9th at RWTH Aachen University.