Technology and Ethics
While there is a able-bodied agitation in American association over the affiliation amid technology and such ethical issues as democracy, atrocity and the environment, the accession of technologies admits of no debate. Jerry Mander writes, “It is a blue actuality that in our association the aboriginal after-effects of descriptions about new technologies consistently appear from the corporations and scientists who ad-lib and bazaar these technologies and who accept abundant to accretion by our accepting a absolute view” (Mander, 1996, 345). This is a axial point: the basal affair is that the accession of new technologies is far removed from any absolute autonomous discussion. Such altercation consistently occurs in a antiseptic environment, consistently afterwards the fact.
For example, the development and accession assembly of the auto was hailed about universally as a advocate development. It was declared to accommodate abandon of movement and accomplish our apple smaller. Such slogans additionally met the development of air travel, television and the internet. Such things were accustomed in association about after discussion, save for a few marginalized traditionalists and agrarians who were speaking into the wind. Nevertheless, the auto has recreated the American landscape, accustomed bags of afar of paved roads, brought acculturation to baby towns whether they basal it or not, dead abounding millions in cartage accidents worldwide, massively added the assurance on oil and created a massive oligarchy of accumulated basal who allowances from all this.
It [industrialism] additionally led, and leads. . . to amusing and political consequences: the binding of acreage populations and the uncontrollable advance of cities, the evisceration of assured communities, the amplification of axial governments, the enthronement of science as cardinal ideology, a advanced and accretion gap amid affluent and poor, and cardinal belief of profit, growth, property, and consumption. (Sale, 1996)Now, the accustomed point is had all of this been accustomed (or theorized) in 1920, and a civic altercation had taken place, would we accept the accession assembly of automobiles?
Has it, ultimately, been a adequate thing? Often, the accustomed acknowledgment is that “you can’t stop progress.” Such a byword is saturated with acrimony and amorality, as if technologies were some seismic abnormality as accustomed as photosynthesis. Advance is article that is, as Mander says, dictated by a scattering of aloft accumulated and government agencies who adjudge what appearance advance will take.
In addition, Mander additionally holds that technologies, such as nuclear adeptness and air travel, are inherently biased politically. He writes, “To body and accomplish nuclear adeptness plants requires a large, awful abstruse and actual well-financed infrastructure. . . It can alone be done by huge, centralized institutions. After such institutions, nuclear adeptness could not exist” (Mander, 2006, 347). Mander sees the aforementioned problems in the development of the internet.
Such dispatch in communications and admission to advice does little but abetment the affiliated absorption of political and bread-and-butter power. “In fact, it is my assessment that computer technology may be the distinct best important accoutrement anytime invented for the dispatch of centralized power. While we sit at our PCs. . . .transnational corporations are application their all-around networks, fed by far greater resources. . . .they accomplish on a calibration and at a dispatch that makes our own akin of cyber-empowerment accept affecting by comparison” (Mander, 2006, 355).
Even more, such all-around interconnectedness, continued acclaimed as a aisle to abandon and unity, brings instead, cultural leveling and a abolition of diversity. The computer anarchy is a anarchy that permits a scattering of aloft cultural centers such as Hollywood to appoint their appearance of the apple into every bend of the world, and the after-effects of this are aloof alpha to be seen. The affair of Hollywood and New York arty its appearance of the apple to the bulb is a given: the facts allege for themselves. But one afresh charge attack with the affair of whether or not this is a adequate thing? What gives Hollywood the right?
The accustomed point is that the mega-technologies accept brought the apple afterpiece calm and sped up the dispatch at which we accept information. But what are the accurate results? Could any of these after-effects accept been advancing in the backward 1970s aback this technology was actuality developed? And if not, what does this say about autonomous governance? Afterwards all, computers and automobiles accept revolutionized our association with far added absolute after-effects than who gets adopted president. But again, there is no autonomous ascendancy over these affectionate invasions of our lives and the technologies themselves not alone accept centralized control, but accommodate the agencies of absorption with greater and greater resources.
Mander’s apriorism is that technology is already biased in agreement of absorption and statism. In alternative words, the abstruse revolution, which clothed itself in the crimson of abandon and progress, in actuality needs a huge centralized accoutrement of physical, technical, educational, political and bread-and-butter forms. The technologies that accept revolutionized our association accept both created and in fact, affected the actuality of a radically adapted mural that touches every aspect of animal life.
The abstruse accoutrement that charge be in abode to amaze an absolute abstemious charge be huge, not to acknowledgment the continuing armies that charge be in abode to avert the corridors of activity manual such as oil pipelines. Technology is political, and best certainly, is not abandoned from the butt of life. Technology has, in the20th aeon “second automated revolution,” affected every aspect of animal activity after a vote taken.
All technologies accept consequences, assured and congenital in, and imperatives, aloof as inevitable, about abstracted from animal dictates and desires. Norbert Wiener, the mathematician who was the architect of avant-garde cybernetics, has accounting about “technical determinants” dictated by “the actual nature” of machines, and of the beef agent he acclaimed that it automatically leads to ample and anytime beyond scales because it can adeptness so abounding abstracted machines at once, to anytime accretion assembly because it charge pay aback its aerial advance and operating costs, and to absorption and specialization because factors of adeptness and abridgement abandon those of, say, adroitness or artful expression. (Sale, 1996).
Nevertheless, there can be no altercation of these capacity after that of ideology. Technology does accept its own ideology, and it needs to be “unpacked.” One adeptness abridge this point of appearance this way: First, that technology has its own aisle that is absolute of the will of mankind. This can be challenged by the simple actuality that all abstruse innovations of contempo anamnesis accept been developed in a accumulated ambience beneath accumulated rules for profit. Men accept financed and created these things. But they accept not financed or created these things blindly, as allotment of some “natural and assured process.” They accept been created according to a arrangement of thought.
Second, this arrangement of anticipation is that beatitude is a amount of abstruse advance and the accession of capital. In alternative words, the actuality that has the bigger car, aerial tech stereos and I-Pods, must, in general, be happier than one that does not, or has older, anachronous equipment. Yet, there is no affirmation for this, one would accept a boxy time pointing to analysis that says bodies are happier or beneath fatigued now than they were 1,000 years ago.
Third, the “market” is in ascendancy over whether or not technology is accustomed and hence, democratically adequate is generally heard. In alternative words, the “democracy” botheration is apparent by the bazaar itself. If new technologies are invented and marketed, bodies can accept to buy or not to buy. But is it that simple? One who buys the latest inventions is progressive, while the alternative is regressive. To accept an 8-track amateur in one’s car is an breach for mockery, behindhand of the achievement one gets from accepting such “vintage” equipment. Advertising and business campaigns are not projected to one’s reason, but to one’s abject passions, to be advised acceptable, adorable and intelligent, rather than awkward and ignorant. The accepting or bounce of technology additionally partakes of these apparatus as well.
I anticipate that in general, these arguments are universally apparent as undergirding and answer the immense adeptness of technology in avant-garde societies, and in fact, alike defining what “modern” absolutely is. While technology is taken for granted, the ancestry of a austere altercation can alone activate aback the basal assumptions of a abstruse activity are unpacked. What are the assumptions and promises, and to what admeasurement has the high-tech association succeeded in affair these expectations? It adeptness be unreflectively captivated that bodies who lived 1,000 years ago were analogously afflicted and ignorant, yet austere analysis into that acreage has succeeded in smashing that asinine myth, but it still charcoal the breadth of aberrant specialists.
Yet such a appearance undergirds abundant altercation on the catechism of technology and its role in society. Technology and its thought-apparatus accept succeeded alike in afterlight history to clothing itself: bodies were afflicted and apprenticed up until the 19th century. It is difficult to see how the high-tech association can absolve itself in any alternative way. But the attributes of any “discussion” charge accept teeth. In alternative words, it charge be absorbed to the adeptness of communities and families to breach abroad from the filigree and actuality active different, wholesome lives. Antiseptic bookish “discussions” do annihilation but absolve adroitness salaries. Such allocution charge accept a advocate purpose, to about-face the movement of advance as Bookchin sees it: from abstruse gigantism to miniaturism, starting with the agency by which the machines are powered.
Given the aloft arguments, Kirkpatrick Sale has accounting essentially on the rebellion, both actual and modern, of the acreage adjoin the machine, the ultimate bi-modality in this discussion. His altercation accurately dovetails with Mander in abounding respects. The aboriginal catechism is the aberration amid technology and a arrangement of production. Mander holds that there is no difference, that accouterment depends on a huge, centralized arrangement of activity and thought, the “bureaucratic man.” On the alternative hand, Sale holds that the absolute anarchy was in the development of the beef engine.
For him, this was the aboriginal time that an apparatus came into actuality absolutely absolute of nature, rather than absolutely application it. Aloof as importantly, this apparatus additionally fabricated the breakthrough jump from the apple of bounded machines to an absolute arrangement of assembly and life. Beef created the avant-garde branch and its conduct that acquire from it (Sale, 1996). In alternative words, the development of beef took the amoebic association and acquainted it into a apple of assembly bedeviled by a scattering of elites. But this should be noted: that it has been the affair of how machines are powered that led to the conception of the aboriginal “grid.”
Again, the affair comes aback to that of energy. With this, the added optimistic appearance of Bookchin makes added sense, back it is absolutely not accouterment per se, but the agency by which they are powered that is non-liberatory in its tendency. Bookchin seems to say that the abridgement of adeptness to solar and wind sources (among alternative accustomed sources) is both assured (as oil runs out and atramentous is too dirty) and about accustomed if decentralization and accurate bounded capitalism are to become a reality.
In his “Five Facets of a Myth” Sale asks the simple question: has the 400 years back the Automated anarchy produces added or beneath beatitude for altruism (as a whole)? Has it produced added equality, added justice, beneath work, beneath stress, added brainy stability, for altruism as a whole? What were the promises of the abstruse revolution? These arguments, from Bacon to Compte accept been annihilation beneath than plenty, peace, beneath assignment and stress, a actual utopia of assembly breadth backbreaker would disappear. Diseases would be cured, wars concluded and brainy affliction a affair of the past. But has affairs and technology agitated through on these promises? And what has been the amount of the accessibility that industry has created?
It seems that Mander, Bookchin and Sale would all accede that the promises of affairs and the abstruse anarchy accept not been fulfilled. As one array of ability is brought forward, some others are larboard behind. All that does not accommodate to the English archetypal of industrialization (or industrialization in general), is dismissively alleged “backward” and “primitive,” as agreement of abuse.
II. Society, Churches and the Abstruse Revolution
As a amount of course, association seems to be a acquiescent victim of the advertising of the industrialists. Technology has invaded every bend of animal life, altering landscapes of absolute continents. All of this has been done continued afore any affectionate of agitation has been engaged. This is the axial problem. On the whole, churches accept accustomed the abstruse anarchy with little protest. There are baby exceptions: the Russian Old Believers, the Amish, some acceptable Roman Catholic and Orthodox writers accept abundant the problems, both moral and social, of technology and its ascendancy over life.
One able breadth of analysis has been developed by the blooming anarchists, who accept taken at atomic some of their actual from the bygone Murray Bookchin, who advocated a humanized technology alone from centralized structures. Solar adeptness is the abiding example, back it is almost accessible to install and is off a grid, in alternative words, it charge not be affiliated into any beyond structures of power. Bookchin, in his 1970 Post Scarcity Anarchism, contains a able article alleged “Toward a Liberatory Technology.”
The aboriginal date of this advertisement makes it of abundant absorption in avant-garde writings adjoin the abstruse revolution. Bookchin is far added optimistic than Mander, and holds that the movement in this anarchy is against the baby scale: computers and accouterment in accustomed are accepting physically abate and application beneath and beneath energy. This movement is a adequate affair and can abetment in the architecture of a new, decentralized association (Bookchin, 1970, 59).
A absolved society, I believe, will not appetite to abate technology absolutely because it has absolved and can bang a balance. It may able-bodied appetite to digest the apparatus to aesthetic craftsmanship. By this I beggarly that the apparatus will abolish the application from the advantageous process, abrogation its aesthetic achievement to man. The machine, in effect, will participate in animal creativity. . . In a absolved association the aggregate of automated machines and craftsmans accoutrement could ability a amount of composure and of artistic alternation unparalleled in any aeon of animal history (Bookchin, 1970, 80).
The acumen amid Mander and Bookchin in clear: For the former, technology is inherently biased, at atomic in its present manifestation. Mander, like Bookchin, holds that solar and wind adeptness is the beachcomber of the future, and, in general, can beggarly that activity “off the grid” is absolutely possible, acceptable ability and bounded ascendancy over events. The axial affair actuality is capitalism and bounded control: off-grid agency bounded control, and cultural and bread-and-butter lives are not necessarily dictated by abroad banks, the Federal Reserve or the all-around economy, none of which the boilerplate association has any ascendancy over. But in Bookchin’s case, the automated anarchy already contains the seeds of its decentralization and hence, sees in the automated anarchy seeds of a new, absolved society. In general, by the appellation “liberated” Bookchin agency absolute of centralized sources of control.
One absorbing antecedent of Christian radicalism has been the monastery. Here, abnormally in its Orthodox foundations, the abstruse anarchy has been captivated at bay. For example, the Platina, California abbey of St. Herman is absolutely off grid. They accept no active baptize or electricity, and abound best of their own aliment (Damascene, 2002). Their area are admirable and spacious, and back they are vegetarians, hunting is banned (as is the case for all Orthodox monasteries). Their diet is actual simple yet acutely healthy, and the association is growing. They run a aloft publishing abode on architect adeptness run by solar panels. The Platina acquaintance has become axial for giving an archetype of how to alive a happy, advantageous activity after assurance on the arrangement of chain systems of ascendancy which is meant by the appellation “grid.”
Another archetype adeptness be the St. Mary’s association in St. Mary’s Kansas. This is a Roman Catholic association that alone partially controls the baby boondocks of St. Mary’s. They seek to alive their lives artlessly and affably in adoration and honest labor. It is not a abbey and families advance there, but they accept already accustomed several visits from the FBI, batty that a “cult” was at assignment there. If anything, such communities accept an acclivous ascend from the accompaniment as able-bodied as the media, whose advantage of the association has been analogously adverse and uncomprehending. (cf. http://www.smac.edu, St. Mary’s Academy page, with some advice on the association as a whole).
One can assumption with a abundant accord of absolution that the boilerplate American ancestors has accepted technology as “inevitable,” after absolutely compassionate the circuitous after-effects of such technologies. Slowly but absolutely however, the rather marginalized monastics, anarchists and greens accept fabricated somewhat of an impact. But if Bookchin is correct, the abate calibration of newer technologies will accomplish a freer activity accessible with rather baby changes in amusing consciousness. What seems to be at the centermost is the attributes of power. If adeptness can be locally created through bio-mass or solar energy, afresh technology can become liberatory. The filigree seems to be based on power, i.e. energy, added than annihilation abroad admitting it cannot be bound to that.
Every association would almost bounded or bounded autarky. It would seek to accomplish wholeness, because accompaniment produces complete, angled men who alive in a accommodating accord with their environment. Alike if a abundant allocation of the abridgement fell aural the apple of a civic analysis of labor, the all-embracing bread-and-butter weight of a association would still blow with the association (Bookchin, 1970, 83).
The axial adequate actuality is independence. But it is difficult to aboveboard the American absorption in “environmental politics” with annihilation alternative than a fashionable political cause. It is adamantine to see how such a apparent charge can be brought to buck on the rather accommodating agitation and communitarianism of Bookchin. It seems that for the moment, the abstracts such as Platina will abide marginalized and unappealing to the masses. The agitation adeptness continue, but, for bigger or worse, that does not stop the “inevitable caster of progress” from spinning.
A contempo abstraction from Cornell University suggests that best of Americans are acerb alpha to catechism the affair of genetically engineered foods. This technology was gradually alien into aliment assembly abundantly unbeknownst to the American public. Hence, back about two-thirds of American aliment is so processed, the “debate” is abundantly a arguable one. Nevertheless, Cornell claims that there has been a “slight but cogent about-face over time appear a little beneath abutment [for genetically engineered foods] and added accident perception” (Bio-Medicine, 2005).
What are the abstracts we can ability here? The aboriginal adeptness be that the added applied questions of the belief of technology charge be brought beneath a added accustomed heading: this branch has been dealt with aloft and is the accord of technology to alternative and democracy. All alternative appurtenances breeze from this. If one can appearance that technology has led to a stressed, mentally asymmetric and automatic society, afresh one charge be able to ameliorate the arrangement and accompany to buck new insights. If accouterment is adverse to capitalism and bounded control, afresh it needs to be eliminated, or at least, awful adapted in the way that Bookchin proposes. Hiding abaft arguments about the “inevitable” attributes of “technical progress” will not do, but these alone beg the question.
Second, the catechism of technology and belief is axial to avant-garde societies, and needs to be taken out of the classroom and into the Congress and the accessible square. These issues are not about the “environment” per se, but the ambiance is aloof an addendum of the added important questions apropos the attributes of centralized bread-and-butter ascendancy (whether from the accompaniment or accumulated America, or an accord of both) and its affectionate affiliation to the history of abstruse progress. This is the basement affair of technology and its affiliation to ethics, that is, to abandon and autonomy. Abandon and autonomy, therefore, charge additionally be the basement of a autonomous order.
A Archetypal Syllabus: A Abrupt Introduction
This academy is advantaged Technology and Democracy, and will accommodated bristles times. It will absorb film, accounting assignment and discussion. All credibility of appearance are acceptable and encouraged. Nevertheless, it should be fabricated bright that the basal issues are authentic as the accord of technology and the sources of its conception and business with democracy, adequation and safety. The issues beneath are meant to allegorize these basal capacity from capricious fields of study. This abridgement is meant to booty the basal insights above, that is, the accord of capitalism to technology (as the centermost of abstruse ethics) and accompany it to buck on added applied pursuits such as anesthetic or computer science.
The catechism of technology and children
Readings to accept able beforehand:
Parens, Eric (2006) Surgically Shaping Children: Technology, Belief and the Pursuit of Noramality. Johns Hopkins University Press
This assignment will be the capital affair of the aboriginal meeting. Altercation and workshops will chase apropos the appulse of technology on adopting children. Capacity will include, sex alternative and abortion, abiogenetic engineering and, importantly, the alleviative of children, abnormally boys. Basal issues of sexism (especially anti-male bias) will be discussed
Ethics and Bloom Care Technology
Readings to accept able beforehand
Anderson, James (2002) Belief and Advice Technology: A Care Based Approach to a Bloom Care Arrangement in Transition. Springer Books.
The altercation will centermost aloft the attributes of abiogenetic engineering in the branch of anesthetic and ethics. But what needs to be fatigued is the affiliation amid the accumulated or accompaniment ascendancy of anesthetic and the attributes of belief and centralized power.
A video will additionally be shown:
Sulmasy, Daniel (2004) Dignity, Vulnerability and Care of the Patient. St. Vincent’s Medical Center. 55 min (available at http://www.providence.org/oregon/programs_and_services/ethics/e15clips.htm)
Readings to accept able beforehand
Ethics and Weapons Technology
Brigetedy, Ruben (2007) Ethics, Technology and the American Way of War. Routledge.
This basic will affair technology and the development of weapons. There is no abstracted amid the automated anarchy and the development of accession warfare and acutely high-casualty wars. Technology charge face this aspect of itself, its promises to accompany altruism accord and affluence are belied by the actuality that technology has all of the best baleful weapons accustomed to man. Science, in alternative words, is not intrinsically liberating, it can additionally enslave.
Ethics and Advice Technology
Readings to accept able beforehand
Stamatellos, Giannis (2007) Computer Ethics: A All-around Perspective. Jones and Bartlett
This allotment of the academy will accord with the issues complex in computer technology and privacy. This is a axial affair in today’s abridgement and charge be dealt with. Issues such as Pay-Pal and Ebay will be discussed, as able-bodied as the abeyant for artifice and abuse.
Ethics and brainy Health
Readings to accept able beforehand
Dyer, Allen (1988) Belief and Psychiatry. American Psychiatric Association Publications
Mental bloom and pharmaceuticals are important areas of belief today. Tens of millions throughout the apple are currently on legal, pharmaceuticals for brainy illness. Hence, the affair goes appropriate to the affection of this course: the acquaintance of technology to the boilerplate person. In this case, the technology goes beeline to the academician and manipulates the chemistry, altering the personality for bigger or worse. But at the aforementioned time, these medications are marketed for profit, appropriately creating a moral quandary: is the decree of these medications medically all-important or alike proper? Is the accession motive centermost date here, or the science of medicine, and alike more, to what admeasurement has this science been controlled by the accession motive itself?
Students will end the academy with a abrupt presentation apropos one of the these bristles capacity about to the capital topic: the affiliation of technology to capitalism and liberty.
“American Opinions are Split on Genetically Engineered Food.” Bio Anesthetic News. 2005. (Bio-medicine.org)
Bookchin, Murray (1970) Post Scarcity Anarchism. AK Press.
Damascene, Fr. (2003). Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Activity and Works. St. Herman’s Press (Fr. Seraphim founded the adjustment at Platina, CA)
Mander, Jerry (2006). “Technologies of Globalization.” in Mander, ed. The Case Adjoin the All-around Economy. Sierra Club Books. 344-359
Sale, Kirkpatrick (1996) Rebels Adjoin the Future. Basal Books
(nd) “Five Facets of a Myth.” Primitivism Online Journal. (Primitivism.org)
Order a unique copy of this paper