“Arts and technology both shape the future of society”
One of the partners of Driving the Human, acatech, the National Academy of Science and Engineering, is the voice of the technological sciences in Germany and abroad. Its board member, Prof. Dr. Martina Schraudner, discusses how Driving the Human overlaps with the institutions’ interests and activities.
What is acatech?
Funded by the Federal Government and the Federal States in Germany, acatech, the National Academy of Science and Engineering, is the voice of the technological sciences in Germany and abroad. acatech is committed to ensuring that ideas become innovations and that these innovations in turn lead to greater prosperity, welfare, sustainability and quality of life. We bring together experts from academia, business and civil society to discuss some of the most important transformation challenges we face. The independent, evidence-based advice we develop enables informed debates among the public and policymakers on strategic engineering and technology policy issues which, in turn, are the foundation of strategically robust decision-making.
“acatech showcases what science and engineering might render possible in the future“
What are the main activities currently taking place at acatech?
Society is undergoing several profound transformations, with digitisation being a major driving force for many of them. At acatech we are focusing on three important areas under transformation: energy, transportation and circular economy. We discuss ideas with both the public and policymakers as to how we can apply innovations to address these challenges. We do not only explain current advances in technology (like platform economy, cloud computing and artificial intelligence), develop scenarios and provide options for action for policy makers and society (e.g. developing a European Public Sphere). We also showcase what science and engineering might render possible in the future (e.g. quantum technologies, artificial photosynthesis). The public and public welfare are at the center of our work. The new societal claims to become actively involved in shaping our future has prompted us to explore new ways of communication and collaboration between all actors: the public, science, industry and policymakers. With projects like HORIZONTE or Mobilität neu denken we create opportunities for the public to form an opinion, to be heard, to voice their wishes but also concerns, to get involved. Driving the Human will add another important layer. This project will join arts and technology, which both shape the future of society.
How does a transdisciplinary initiative like Driving the Human become interesting for acatech and how can it benefit your institution?
acatech as a facilitator of debates within and between society, industry, science, and policymakers always followed a transdisciplinary approach to shape a future in the interest of the public. We want to enhance the interdependence of culture, values and the “social reality” on the innovation system and therefore collaborate with Forecast, ZKM and HFG. We need a broad range of perspectives on risks and opportunities – for social innovation and to identify where technology could support society.
I am convinced that breaking down knowledge silos opens up new scope for thinking and will allow acatech to become an even better advisory platform for society and policymakers.
(…) Driving the Human is the platform for exchange, collaborative ideation and implementation.
How do the themes developed by Driving the Human surface in your activities?
As a result of this project and this collaboration we will get a clearer picture of the world we would like to live in. Artists, scientists and engineers are developing visions in their own specific way and Driving the Human is the platform for exchange, collaborative ideation and implementation.