Beyond the horizon

New publication series provides important impulses for TA(B) studies of tomorrow via brief topic profiles from our »Horizon scanning«

The brief topic profiles , which have now been published for the first time following a decision by the members of parliament, are short presentations of current TA-relevant topics. They are the result of the open horizon scanning, with which technological trends have been continuously observed and placed in the context of social debates since 2014. The scientific and technical background and the expected future development, the foreseeable social and political relevance as well as considerations for a possible in-depth treatment of the respective topic by TAB are presented in a compact form (on 5 to 12 pages). The respective bibliography not only discloses the sources, but also offers interested readers suggestions for further reading.

The brief topic profiles provide impulses in the topic identification process of the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment (ABFTA). From the topic profiles of this and last year, the ABFTA has selected one each for in-depth processing by the TAB in the form of TA preliminary studies: in 2016 the much-noticed topic »Social Bots«, in 2017 the topic »Legal Techs - algorithmic legal advice«, which will be processed from December this year.

Open Horizon Scanning is designed as a combination of qualitative, software-based data analysis and an expert-based process. As a result, it combines the advantages of in-depth expertise from our experts with the benefits of a high sample size of coded text passages from popular science sources and leading media in the printed press, as well as foresight reports, internet blogs and scientific articles.

The basis of the 2017 topic short profiles was formed by 1,521 sources (2016: 1,027) and from these around 7,528 (2016: 6,993) coded quotations (as a cumulative source base), which were systematically examined and processed in the form of qualitative content analyses. In the process, the topics finally elaborated were condensed in several stages and evaluated in terms of their relevance, and elaborated in an iterative process by multi-member teams of authors from VDI/VDE-IT in close coordination with the TAB core team.

The topic profiles 2017 (availabl only in German as »Themenkurzprofile«):

 The topic profiles 2016:


Further informationen:

logo horizon-scanning
The topic profiles from the horizon scanning offer a compact overview of selected scientific and technical trends and their relevance for politics and society.