Barbara Prainsack: The Work of Technologies

In her Public Lecture "The Work of Technologies" Barbara Prainsack talked about the "wicked problem" of the future of labor and the discourse that comes with it.

On June 19th Prof. Barbara Prainsack presented ongoing work in her capacity of being a member of The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) which has been tasked to provide a guidance how to tackle the potential threats to human labor in an increasingly automatized society. 

The committee’s work resulted in an elaborate assessment of automation and datafication/digitalization. Prainsack presented the "wicked problem" of the future of labor: The discourse usually sees "replacement pessimists" versus "replacement optimists" pitched against each other. But there are more fundamental issues at work that may challenge our core understandings of society. Those issues circle around the questions of how people can still afford a living from their labor force in a more automated society and how they can be trained in a way that can provide for the unknown tasks of tomorrow.

The solution, according to Prainsack, would be a re-assignment of society's set of values. The difficulty, however, will be how to democratically achieve this. The results and key recommendations of the EGE will be presented at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) that will be held from July 9th to 14th in Toulouse. 

The presentation merged into a lively discussion with participants, including back-and-forth's about the meaning of "value" and the role of artificial intelligence, among many others.