Autonomy and risk

The concept of autonomy is familiar to us as the action-theoretical ideal of the enlightened individual - as the capacity for self-determined behavior, as the principle of self-binding norm setting, and as the basis for the individual's responsibility in society. What began as the guiding idea of scientific and philosophical discourses on enlightenment is increasingly being transfigured into the ideal of technological future scenarios in times of advancing digitalization projects and the ongoing boom in artificial intelligences under the motive of assimilating human capacities for action. This is accompanied by new challenges in terms of 'autonomy and risk', since the relationship between humans and their digital technologies is fundamentally changing with the emergence of such (partially) autonomous systems. In this context, the technical protagonists of the digital transformation - systems and applications of robotics and voice assistance, modern warfare and mobility, as well as trends in digital capitalism and privacy - need to be examined and interpreted in terms of their autonomy potential. Greatest importance is attached to the interdisciplinary collaboration of different disciplines as well as to the creation of common content infrastructures. The shared research concern is the response to ethical, regulatory, political and cultural problem potentials of autonomous technologies and the formulation of concrete, solution-oriented recommendations for action, among other things for security policy concerns and human rights-related perspectives of so-called 'autonomous' weapons.


Avatar Thimm

Prof. Dr. Caja Thimm

+49 228 73-5651/ -4746

Avatar Mayer

Prof. Dr. Maximilian Mayer

+49 228 73 5640

Research Group: Autonomy and autonomous systems

The project initiative 'Autonomy and Autonomous Systems' is a joint research initiative of the University of Bonn and the RWTH Aachen University.

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