During election campaign time, various parties like to make the case that we should have more scientists involved in politics. In Delft, we like to approach problems with the practical mindset of an engineer. But do we need more engineers in politics? In fact, does politics need engineers at all?
It may seem obvious we do. After all, major societal challenges such as climate change and digitalisation strongly depend upon technological innovation, and politicians and policymakers often lack expertise. However, does this mean that we should include engineers in politics? And if so, in what way? A quick examination of the Dutch House of Representatives shows that indeed currently the number of people with a scientific background is low, and the applied sciences appear to be outright underrepresented. On the other hand, among the newly appointed ministers we find highly respected academics in theoretical physics and internal medicine with very little political experience. Is our national and local government ready for the Delft mindset or should we leave politics to the politicians?
That is what we will discuss at the second fourth edition of our philosophical café Prometheus’ Problems! At this quarterly event, students, professors and external experts will exchange thoughts about philosophical and ethical themes related to engineering, modern technology and its impact on society. Importantly, the themes are based on questions put forward by students themselves. A discussion in a comfortable setting, with a drink at hand.
Cynthia Liem is Associate Professor at the Multimedia Computing Group at TU Delft working on Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. She is also an active performing musician and an advocate of public outreach.
Herman de Regt is Associate Professor Philosophy of Science & Epistemology at the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences at Tilburg University.
Twan de Nijs studies Engineering and Policy Analysis at TU Delft and is a former council member of Delft City Council on behalf of STIP (Students of Technology in Politics).
Moderator Filippo Santoni de Sio is Associate Professor in Ethics of Technology at the Section Ethics/Philosophy of Technology of TU Delft.