23rd Karlsruhe Dialogues - Speakers
Can Global Challenges Meet a Global Audience?
1. In your opinion, what aspects of collective life (economy, politics, society) are affected the most by a lack of taking on responsibility?
I would not point out any specific aspect, but the links among them. In this era of ultra-communications there is a terrible lack of willingness to communicate properly. Slogans have taken over real content. And there lays the lack of responsibility.
2. Do you see a continuing trend that democratic majorities increasingly often vote against our values of a tolerant society? If so, how does one respond to it?
I still think that such a trend does not affect ‘majorities’, yet. However, the noise populist groups make together with the silence that the rest of the society keeps raise the feeling of an unstoppable trend. Matching every intolerant message with a proper response is a way to react. Citizens in tolerant societies need to leave their passivity behind and become real activists in order to defend values and rights.
3. In your view, what circumstances preclude the assumption of responsibility? Is the main reason to be found in a loss of seemingly secure values, norms and regulations?
Probably the level of welfare and wealth of our societies – even if severely affected by the crisis – led us fall into a certain complacency to believe that past achievements could be taken for granted in the future. To me, that is one of the main reasons for not wanting to assume responsibilities. Linked to that, for some time there was also the lack of urgency to face new challenges; that is changing already – but if we have still time to stop the tide remains to be seen.
4. Where does the responsibility of science with regard to the impacts of its research start and where does it end (e.g. ‘gene manipulation of embryos in China or ‘research in artificial intelligence’)?
In my opinion, those examples are very different and with a complete different impact. In the first case, the gene manipulation, the researcher went beyond all established ethical principles in science. In scientific circles in China, they were very worried about the lack of ethics of this work. In the case of artificial intelligence, new challenges arise as the technology is developed. The responsibility lies in the sphere of science policies, but also in the lack of global bodies with the authority and the means to set up global standards in that regard.