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Are we, as a society, ready for developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G and The Internet of Things, creating a ‘perfect technological storm’? Researchers of the Delft University of Technology study this matter. In an extensive report, commissioned by the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) they elaborate on the question if society is prepared for these converging, fast developing technologies. The report also brings forward clear recommendations. On future challenges such as ethical use of data, preserving privacy and digital safety, but also to prevent improper and inaccurate use of AI or data.

“Our study suggests that the merger of Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain and virtual and augmented reality raises a host of new moral, social and political challenges that extend well beyond what is usually discussed in for example the AI ethics literature. Action is needed by the EU, and other players, to address these issues upfront and to prepare society for properly dealing with them.” Says Ibo van de Poel, Professor in Ethics and Technology at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at Delft University of Technology.

Together AI, 5G and IoT represent a ‘perfect technological storm’ and a potent opportunity for value creation. The potential of this technological blend to generate enormous amounts of data at the intersection between the physical and cyber worlds poses several technological, legal and ethical challenges, because these technologies touch our lives so intimately by collecting, processing and using highly personal data. There is a wide range of policy and legal concerns directly linked to the collection, management and use of data in an IoT, Big Data and AI context.

Jeroen van den Hoven, Professor of Ethics & Technology at the Delft University of Technology is enthusiastic about the potential impact of this research: “This is exactly the type of work ethicists of technology at TU Delft should be involved in. It is rewarding to see that the European Parliament knows to find us. We also work closely with the European Commission and the Joint Research Centre on Ethics and Innovation. It is inspiring to know that we can make a contribution to building a responsible digital future for Europe”.

Ethics in technology is a very relevant topic at the moment. Researchers at the Delft University of Technology have been looking at technological developments from an ethical perspective for years, creating a solid foundation for their research, says van den Hoven. “Building on decades of work on Ethics of Technology at Delft University of Technology, and a growing group of talented young philosophers of technology, some of them working in the new TU Delft Digital Ethics Centre and the Delft Design for Values Institute we are in an excellent position to carry out policy relevant digital ethics research for both the Dutch Government and the European Union”.


The study ‘The Ethical & Societal Challenges of the Upcoming Technological Storm’ has been written by Ibo van de Poel, Tristan de Wildt, Ilse Oosterlaken and Jeroen van den Hoven and is published on July 28th 2022. Read it here Ethical and societal challenges of the approaching technological storm | Think Tank | European Parliament (

[ reports: Ethical and societal challenges of the approaching technological storm ]