The Conference (2023)

Technology and Sustainable Development 2023 (TSD23) is an interdisciplinary conference being hosted at Østfold University College, Halden, Norway with support from ØUC’s R&D area of priority The Digital Society.

June 16th, 2023
09.00-18.00 CET
Room: Aud Max, Remmen
Østfold University College
Halden, Norway

The conference is open for physical participation and will be live-streamed. Both attendance options are free, and both require registration.

About the conference

Technological change is at the core of all major disruptions in human history, and revolutions, wars, and general development are regularly connected to some sort of technological change. However, not all development is beneficial. While technology has fuelled great innovations and rapid development, the notion of sustainable development has gained prominence as we now experience serious social, economic, environmental challenges. This conference explores whether technology can be used to fix the very problems caused by technology, and encompasses social, economic, and environmental sustainability.


Prof. Langdon Winner

“Responsible Technology and The Agonies of Reparation”

Professor Langdon Winner is a political theorist who focuses upon social and political issues that surround modern technological change. He is the author of Autonomous Technology, a study of the idea of “technology-out-of-control” in modern social thought, The Whale and The Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology, and editor of Democracy in a Technological Society. Praised by The Wall Street Journal as “The leading academic on the politics of technology”, Mr. Winner was born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California. He received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley with a primary focus upon political theory.

Professor Winner is Thomas Phelan Chair of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. In the early 1990s he was research fellow at the Center for Technology and Culture at the University of Oslo, Norway. Mr. Winner is past president of the Society for Philosophy and Technology.

Professor Winner is perhaps best know for posing the question, “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” and for answering, ‘Yes,’ the dimensions of which he has explored in numerous essays and lectures over the years. While some readers have focused upon particular illustrations in his discussion, for example the height of bridges on the Long Island Expressway in New York, Winner sees the matter far more broadly: a question about the basic compatibility (or lack of compatibility) between the desired character of democratic society and its technological devices and systems.

Prof. Benjamin Sovacool

“Assessing the sustainability and carbon effectiveness of nuclear power”

Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool is Professor of Earth and Environment at Boston University in the United States, where he is the Founding Director of the Institute for Global Sustainability, as well as Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex Business School in the United Kingdom. He is also University Distinguished Professor of Business & Social Sciences at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Professor Sovacool works as a researcher and consultant on issues pertaining to energy policy, energy justice, energy security, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation. More specifically, his research focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, the politics of large-scale energy infrastructure, the ethics and morality of energy decisions, designing public policy to improve energy security and access to electricity, and building adaptive capacity to the consequences of climate change.

His research has been endorsed by U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland, and the late Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, among others. He was a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), published in 2022, and he serves on the Board on Environmental Change and Society for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the United States. With much coverage of his work in the international news media, he is one of the most highly cited global researchers on issues bearing on controversies in energy and climate policy.


Time (CET)TitleNameMaterial
09:00Coffee and snacks 
09:30Welcome and introductionHenrik Skaug Sætra
09:40Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Solutions: Placing the Climate Emergency at the Center of AI DevelopmentsBenedetta BreviniLink
09:50A Legal Sustainability Approach to Align the Order of Rules and Actions in the Context of Digital InnovationEduard Fosch-Villaronga and Marco GiraudoLink
10:00What Does Data Valuation Literature Tell Us About Methods and Dimensions? Implications for City Data MarketplacesPetter KvalvikLink
10:10Sustainability through Normalization: How Sustainability is Enabled and Constrained by Data in Sustainability InitiativesPanagiota KoukouvinouLink
10:20GROUP Q&A (Moderator Henrik Skaug Sætra)
10:40Short break 
11:20The Technologically Sustained Digital DivideErlend NordrumLink
11:30Spot on SDG 5: Addressing Gender (In-)equality Within and With AIMarisa TschoppLink
11:40GROUP Q&A (Moderator Eduard Fosch-Villaronga)
12:30Official book launch (Library) 
13:30Keynote 1: “Assessing the sustainability and carbon effectiveness of nuclear power”Prof. Benjamin Sovacool
14:15Virtual Reality and AutismAnders Nordahl-HansenLink
14:25Sex robots: Advancing gender equality and sexual health?Arianna SicaLink
14:35Why should we pay attention to gender and race in robot design?Kamil Mamak et al.Link
14:45GROUP Q&A (Moderator Marco Giraudo)
15:05Short break 
15:35Capitalism, Sustainability, and DemocracyHarald BorgebundLink
15:45Large Language Models for Democracy: Limits and PossibilitiesPetr ŠpeciánLink
15:55The Fallacy of Disruptive Technologies and the Primacy of Politics: Sustainable Development Goals as an ExampleImad Antoine IbrahimLink
16:05Governing Toward Sustainable Development: From a Path-Dependent Transition to a Disruptive OneLilja MósesdóttirLink
16:15GROUP Q&A (Moderator Marisa Tschopp)
16:35Short break 
16:50Keynote 2: “Responsible Technology and The Agonies of Reparation”Prof. Langdon Winner
17:35Closing wordsHenrik Skaug Sætra
Conference agenda


Chair: Henrik Skaug Sætra (
Co-chairs: Arianna Sica (contact person,, Eduard Fosch Villaronga, Marisa Tschopp & Marco Giraudo

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