Ethical Dilemmas Associated With Technological Development
Technology is the study of how things are done, particularly in a technological sense. The study of technology began in the mid-nineteenth century with Thomas Edison’s development of the new electric light bulb. In more recent years, with computer chip development and wireless communications equipment increasing in popularity, the study of technology has become an important part of public awareness and policy.
Technological change occurs through new technological developments in many areas of human endeavor, from communications to entertainment to transportation. The rapid pace of technological change also creates new key questions for policy makers and citizens. One of these key questions is what will be the definition of success for technological systems? What will be the place of government support for these new technologies? The emerging field of evolutionary technologies raises important questions for both the public and private sectors, resulting in new policy and public concern about the definition of technological innovation.
Technological change is not only about advancing the pace of technological innovation. Technological change is also about transforming certain technologies into new or different types of technologies. Some of the broad categories of transformational technologies include genomics, artificial intelligence, and genetic engineering, robotic engineering, digital technology, information technology, and other emerging technologies. These broad categories also suggest important new questions for policy makers and citizens.
Because of the tremendous changes in scientific and technological systems, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of disciplines and subdisciplines dealing with these broad areas. This has led to increase in research in many of these disciplines, both at the national and interdisciplinary level. One of the fields that has been growing steadily is that of bio-technical engineering, which encompasses all fields of engineering and technology that impacts the life sciences. In this context, it includes such areas as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and information technology.
Since the development of new technologies brings with it some risks, especially the introduction of novel technology, ethical issues have also become a major concern in society. Concerns range from the potential dangers to the potential harmful side effects of new technologies like nanotechnology and genetic engineering. Some of the possible harmful effects of these technologies include:
However, some technologies like computer science, electrical engineering, computer software engineering, and other IT-based disciplines have developed techniques to deal with the issues concerning novel technologies. These techniques aim to develop ethical guidelines on how to deal with the introduction of novel technologies like artificial intelligent computer, artificial intelligence, and information technology. They also aim to develop the necessary technology in order to solve the issues. A few of the ethics guides developed by these disciplines are: – Algorithmic Complexity, Algorithmic Planning, Knowledge Management, Meaningfulness of technical Choice, Value alignment, Software usability, Security, State design and cost management etc. Based on these disciplines and their philosophical underpinnings, ethical issues of information technology emerge as an important area of concern in contemporary society.