Risk Governance of Pervasing Computing Technologies

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Innovation in fields of risk technologies is not contingent merely on the reactions of those who are directly affected. It is also influenced by the wider public sphere. Taking into consideration the changing value structures in modern western societies, we expect that forces of the public sphere, particularly seen in the reactions of NGOs, the media and the public as citizens, as well as inter- and trans-disciplinary expert discourses, will become increasingly important factors determining technological innovations. Pervasive computing systems and its applications are good examples for this development, because they are seen as a systemic risk with a complex functional chain, and a high level of intrinsic uncertainty and ambiguity in regard to the value attachments of the societal actors. A risk governance framework is needed that includes technical risk assessment as well as social concern assessment. Further, subsequent to the evaluation of the specific risk within the framework, specific risk management strategies have to follow. The innovative power of the proposed risk governance framework thereby is the inclusion of the societal context and the classification of risk-related knowledge as uncertain, complex, or ambiguous. This framework and its application to the field of pervasive computing technologies will be outlayed. The results of stakeholder interviews and focusgroups will be used to illuminate the framework and to show its applicability and usability in the real-world context of pervasive computing technologies.


Keywords: Risk Governance, Pervasive Computing, Risk Perception, Innovation
Stream: Human Technologies and Usability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Risk Governance of Pervasing Computing Technologies


Piet Sellke

Researcher, Department of Technology and Environmental Sociology, University of Stuttgart
Stuttgart, Germany

Piet Sellke has studied sociology and political science at the University of Stuttgart as well as sociology at the University of Oregon (USA). Since 2004 Piet Sellke is researcher at the Institute for Social Sciences, since 2006 at the Department for Sociology of Technologies and Environment. His main research interests are qualitative and quantitative empirical research, risk perception, risk governance, and technology assessment. Currently Piet Sellke is project manager of the project “Emerging Opportunities and Emerging Risks: Reflexive Innovation and the Case of Pervasive Computing”, funded by the Volkswagen foundation. In 2007, Piet Sellke was also project manager of an external evaluation of the European Citizens’ Panel, a European participatory initiative.

Ref: T08P0141