New simulation technologies will stimulate and inspire all areas of science. But will the public at large be as receptive? How will simulations impact everyday life? Will they be accepted as helpful or will they be rejected? Consumer acceptance is one important factor in simulation projects that the philosophers and social scientists in this Research Area study collaboratively.
“Computer simulations can valuably complement our philosophical instruments.”Prof. Catrin Misselhorn, Associate Researcher, Chair for the Philosophy of Science and Technology.
All our research activities will be reflected on from ethical and sociological points of view as a kind of technological impact assessment. One interesting question we grapple with is to what extent simulation results can provide a basis for political decisions. This is being studied, for example, with respect to CO2 sequestration. If simulations demonstrate conclusively that CO2 can be stored safely deep underground it is possible that politicians will get on board with such plans and eventually act on them. But how safe is safe? What is real, what becomes real, and what collateral uncertainties can we expect?
This is the type of topics our Research Area’s renowned experts in technical philosophy and scientific theory tackle. Their research leads to recommendations for – among others – terminology and models, e.g., for typifying uncertainties and imprecision, that are applicable to research by their colleagues in the other Research Areas, This means that the partners throughout the entire Cluster can factor in a differentiated view, which benefits projects both when they are conceived and as they proceed.
Our five great visions are also at the centre of reflection. We would like to find out, for example, if a fully simulated person really is a wholly predictable being and how a more robust prognosis on human conduct can change our self-image as autonomous, responsible beings.