Begin this activity by reading the following article from CNN: Technology Posing Ethical Questions (Links to an external site.)
It is often argued that technology itself does not possess moral or ethical qualities since “technology” is merely the development and use of a tool. Conversely, others argue that each technological development is, in fact, infused with moral burden and ethical commitments, particularly with regard to those who developed it, and those who decided how it will be used and/or distributed. Whether merely a lifeless amoral tool or a physical embodiment of human values, the “ethics of technology” encompasses two basic areas:
▪ The ethics involved in the development of new technology — whether it is always, never, or contextually right or wrong to invent and implement a technological innovation.
▪ The ethical questions that are exacerbated by the ways in which technology extends or curtails the power of individuals — i.e., how standard ethical questions are manifested by the new technological advancements.
The first area questions whether the very act of innovation is an ethically right or wrong act. For example, does a scientist have an ethical obligation to produce or fail to produce a destructive weapon? What are the ethical questions surrounding the production of technologies that waste or conserve energy and resources? What are the ethical questions surrounding the production of new manufacturing processes that might inhibit employment, or might inflict suffering in the third world?
In the latter case, the ethics of technology quickly break down into the ethics of various human endeavors as they are altered by new technologies. For example, bioethics is now largely consumed with questions that have been exacerbated by the new life-preserving technologies, new cloning technologies, and new technologies for implantation. In law, the right of privacy is being continually attenuated by the emergence of new forms of surveillance and anonymity. The old ethical questions of privacy and free speech are given new shape and urgency in an Internet age.
Reflect (about 300 words) on the Ethics of New Technology and the Power of the Individual.
▪ What technological advancement has produced the greatest benefit? Provide specific examples and references.
▪ Which has produced the most harm?
▪ Are there also harmful benefits to the beneficial technology, and conversely, have there been benefits from the harmful ones?
Use at least three substantial facts (statistics, events, etc.) in your argument and cite the source where you found this information.