chapter  1
15 Pages

Introduction

ByJoe E. Armstrong, Willis W. Harman

Technology should be consciously and rationally managed toward a goal that contributes to the long-range benefit of humankind in general and to the betterment of organized society as people know it in particular. Technology assessment (TA) is intended primarily to provide assistance in making policy decisions; thus, it is expected to provide specified stakeholder groups with comparisons of the broad range of advantages and disadvantages of at least the most likely alternatives presently available. TA is inherently a multidisciplinary effort that requires the active participation of social as well as physical scienteists. TA must include projections into the future and must deliberately deal with the uncertainty inherent in such projections. The general term "technology" includes "management or soft technologies" as well as physical technologies. In 1971 a team from the Mitre Corporation, under the direction of Dr. Martin Jones, published a seven-step methodology for the conduct of TA.