Social informatics and technology assessment (SITA)
The evolution of information and communication technologies (ICT) and widespread use of new on-line devices and services permits a growing number of people to access data, information and services. In this scenario, the development of emerging technologies must account for the fact that they are used by people and organizations with very different goals, social and cultural characteristics and technological skills, in a range of contexts. The activity of the Social Informatics and Technology Assessment unit (SITA) involves experts from different disciplines, triggering cultural contamination between communication scientists, computer technicians, engineers, economists and sociologists. This research activity has been going on for years, counting numerous partnerships in Italy and abroad. The unit participates in and coordinates various European projects and takes part in training programmes in collaboration with numerous universities and secondary schools. Moreover, the unit periodically promotes academic initiatives (conferences, international workshops, special issues in international journals). The research prevalently concerns the study and development of methods, models and new technologies, as well as the study of the dynamics and influence of the evolution in ICT and societal changes. This research has the aim of: analysing the impact of ICT on the population and the resulting expectations in terms of technological evolution and prospects; producing theoretical and technological innovations to reduce the digital divide in the population, while increasing the availability and accessibility of services, information, data and knowledge through ICT, as well as engaging the population at individual and collective level in society’s different requirements; studying and proposing technology assessment models in various sectors of society.
Key words: Social informatics, social computing, technology assessment, acceptance, business model