KIT Center Humans and Technology

Topic Culture and Technology

The term culture originally referred to agricultural practices, corresponding to today’s “techniques”. The Greek word “technè” may be translated by “arts” and originally referred to something in the field of culture. Not only on the etymology level are culture and technology much more closely related than suggested by widespread opinion. This research field, which has been rarely analytically structured so far, and is often addressed on a rather general level (“the” technology and “the” culture), is being studied in this center by analyzing innovation cultures, risk and safety cultures, technology and construction styles or cultures, business cultures, (technology-related) concepts/visions, etc. The relevance of this field of research is increasing with globalization due to technology transfer or intercultural communication. But cultural gaps also appear within our societies that are subject to accelerated change due to technical innovations, in particular between scientific expert cultures and a culture of laymen based on information by mass media.

The aspect of time plays an important role in the relationship of culture and technology, because the abovementioned acceleration does not only create a yearning for the past, which affects the innovation process, but also demonstrates the necessity of planning for the future in a way that takes ongoing trends into account, develops goals based on societal values and maps out possibilities.