Photos can depict the story of technology and social shifts. In the exhibition "Denkbeelden", which was set up on the occasion of the farewell of professor Anthonie Meijers, you see work by a special group of photographers. They are photographers with a story, a message they wish to convey, often with a scientific, philosophical background. Images that lead us to think about how the inimitable technological developments affect our environment, the people around us and ultimately ourselves.
Anthonie Meijers says about this exhibition:
The exhibition 'Denkbeelden' focuses on socially disruptive technologies. These are technologies that will not just change specific domains or practices for which they were designed, but that will change our life in a much broader sense. The new generation of these technologies has a number of characteristics. First, it promises almost complete control over atoms, bits, genes, and neurons, allowing for everything to be reconstituted or redesigned, including even human beings. Second, it is characterized by blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. Finally, these technologies emerge in the context of a number of grand societal challenges, such as combating climate change and meeting the UN Sustainable Developments Goals, which will actually require a range of technological and societal transformations.
The stakes are high. These new technologies could bring great benefits to our society: opening up new medical perspectives, enabling new forms of political participation, or contributing to the solution of our sustainability problems. But they could also bring great harm if not properly developed and implemented. They could curtail our autonomy and privacy, damage our ecology, and exacerbate divisions and inequalities in society. That is why normative frameworks are so important: which values and normative principles should guide their development, and which benefits do we want for individuals and society?