The Consequences of Research

Professor Dr. Helge Ritter interviewed by the Bertelsmann Foundation

“He who builds a street cannot think of everything that could one day be transported on it,” says Professor Dr. Helge Ritter in a new book by the Bertelsmann Foundation. With this, the Coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) is responding to the question of whether researchers must always keep societal consequences in mind.

Armano García Schmidt and Henrik Brinkmann from the Bertelsmann Foundation interviewed Helge Ritter as one of 12 thinkers commenting on contemporary issues. The book “Wachstum im Wandel” [Growth in Changing Times] evolved out of these interviews. The book is dedicated to exploring 10 zones of conflict in economic and societal change in Germany, including increasing technological transformation.

Humanoid robots are transforming society, and the enormous advancements in robotics that took place during the past 10 years are already having a substantial impact.

How must people adapt to the changes machines have brought to human life? Can technology solve societal problems? And in the future, how will be the boundary between human and technology become blurred? Ritter provides answers to these questions.

Additional speakers included Wolf Lotter, cofounder of the economic magazine “brand eins,” Professor Armin Nasshei, Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Munich, and Professor Katharina Zweig of the Technical University Kaiserslautern.

Bertelsmann Foundation (publisher): Wachstum im Wandel. Chancen und Risiken für die Zukunft der Sozialen Marktwirtschaft. [Growth in Changing Times: Opportunities and Risks for the Future of the Social Market Economy]. Download:

Print edition: ISBN 978-3-86793-687-3, 189 pages, 25 Euro.