What Is Technology Assessment Essay Research Paper

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What Is Technology Assessment? Essay, Research Paper EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report aims to familiarize and to provide an understanding of Technology Assessment both in its past and present form. Its different viewpoints, approaches, tools and methods, which are all relevant to the engineering decision-maker and analyst alike, are discussed. The four different Technology Assessment paradigms as described by Eijnhoven (1997) along with the views of lecturers in this subject on the question “What is Technology Assessment? “, is also discussed and analysed. By understanding the roots of technological assessment and its impacts on everyday life, one can recognize and appreciate the importance of its presence in an ever-changing environment. The first part of this report aims

to achieve this. The second part of this report describes the increased need for engineers to incorporate Technology Assessment into engineering decision making and its practice. Different engineering disciplines will see Technology Assessment in different perspectives. How they will approach a particular problem through the different environmental, social, technical, economic and political factors is part of the decision making process (Taylor, 2000). THE NEED FOR TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT Brief History In the post-war era, the necessity of taking into account social costs and benefits as well as private costs and benefits became apparent. At the time, problems relating to forecasting the future consequences of complex technologies became more and more obvious (Freeman 1995). Such

an example if the issue of nuclear power. The limitations of a purely economics-based assessment of social and environmental problems had become clear. It was in these circumstances that techniques of ‘Technology Assessment’ began to be used in an attempt to overcome the short-comings and limitations of cost-benefit analysis. Thus, Technology Assessment was adopted by U.S Congress and governments from around the world and was widely recognised through the need to make publicly available assessment of the potential risks, hazards, costs and benefits of developing new technologies. It also sparked the importance of parliamentary control of assessment procedures and the involvement of diverse disciplines. Reflections An example of developing new technologies would be the

resource presentation by Wahidul Biswas on “Socio-Technical Design in Mechanical Engineering”. In his presentation, Wahidul talks about the consequences of new technologies, that is, social and environmental aspects. New technologies (NT’s) centers less on the numbers employed (a social aspect) and leads to incomplete combustion and biomass consumption in developing countries (an environmental aspect). Technology Assessment as described in Eijnhoven readings by the lecture from Bronwyn Holland as a metaphor that ‘Technology Assessment illuminates the darkness/opacity of the technology society interface’ (Eijnhoven 1997). This is quite true. In a society where nothing is very open, Technology Assessment is necessary to bring technology and society to ‘light’, so to

speak, in order to gain a better understanding. One important purpose of technology assessment, in general, will be continual improvement. By using evaluation results, one will better understand how a technological product or process is working and where it is headed. With this greater understanding, better decisions can be made that will improve/refine the life of the product or process in the long run. Examples would include: ? radiation ? nuclear energy ? fuel emissions Negative effects of the above, in general, are becoming positive effects through the continual implementation of technology assessment. Another good example would be in the area of Health Technologies. The resource presentation by Hung Nguyen on “Design issues in Electrical Engineering” talks about the need