Digital Technologies in the COVID-19-Pandemic
A Transnational Dialogue between Germany and Japan

Digital Solutions against the COVID-19-Pandemic

The corona crisis represents a global challenge largely flanked by digital information technologies. The so-called “crisis technologies” include, among others, three categories that are aimed at individual and collective well-being in the pandemic situation: information, communication, and containment platforms. Internationally, some highly digitized states in East Asia have shown how the population can be involved in the digital fight against the pandemic. At the same time, the use and handling of crisis technologies reveal far-reaching differences between ‘West’ and ‘East’, which point to other socio-cultural and ethical foundations. Current studies on the acceptance and rejection of instruments aimed at digitally fighting the pandemic show diverging preferences in different countries. Nevertheless, so far, there is little consideration of the extent to which the use and handling of digital technologies in crises refer to different socio-cultural and ethically anchored understandings of basic values.

Aims and Central Theme

The planned online conference follows the results of the ongoing interdisciplinary project ELISA (The Ethics of Livetracking-Applications in Connection with SARS-CoV 2). Funded by the German Ministry of Research and Education, ELISA investigated the ethical dimensions of digital contact tracing based on the German Corona Warn App. TechCo expands the perspective internationally, in regard to different technologies and cultures. In addition, it takes the actual global situation as an opportunity to initiate a transnational and interdisciplinary exchange.

  • How is the use of digital technologies socio-culturally situated?

  • What are the moral boundaries of acceptable technologies?

Throughout the event, the goal is to bring the participants into a culturally sensitive dialogue. In this way, socially and ethically perspectives anchored to existing cultural differences will be made visible using the German-Japanese comparison and the highly relevant example of digital technologies in the crisis.

The Online Conference

The conference will be held 14th -18th of March 2022 and is hosted via Zoom by the Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr-University Bochum. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The online conference addresses early-stage researchers ( advanced PhD students and Postdocs) from Germany and Japan and different fields of science such as social science, philosophy, informatics and medicine. The selected participants are invited to present their research projects, discuss them with leading experts, and contribute to the interdisciplinary discourse. Four separate workshops will be held.

  • Social Relevance and Ethical Challenges of Digital Technologies

  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Technology Critique

  • National Discourses and Transnational Dialogue on Digital Technologies

  • Ways Towards a Post-Corona-Society?

All participants are invited to prepare a manuscript and submit it for peer review and publication in a conference volume. The conference language is English. 


We owe gratitude to the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education for funding TechCo.