Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies: A Survey by Mary Rundle and Chris Conley

Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies: A Survey by Mary Rundle and Chris Conley (UNESCO)
This story tells of a bright future in which emerging technologies are applied to the benefit of all humanity. History suggests, however, that technology can also be used to limit rather than to promote human rights and dignity. Thus, it is important to consider how these technologies may promote or thwart the realization of infoethics goals. Conclusion: The most important part of coming to terms with this “far more connected, global computing and information-sharing” paradigm that the Information Society is entering is that (1) everyone must understand it, and that (2) each piece ultimately shares responsibility (a) for the success of the system as a whole, and (b) for the fact that a person’s actions have ramifying and amplifying effects on people far away that he might not even see. It is a challenge to educate all people to be able to live in a world like that. There are huge benefits and shared risk. To a greater extent than before because of technology, organizational heads do not represent the best knowledge to address problems. There is a systematic bias to ask only the heads to be in the room for decision-making. However, children aged 0-20 are much more aware of cultural and technological issues than older people are. They are more knowledgeable about evolving cultures than older people who assume the children will resemble them. (They will not.) Therefore it is important to incorporate children in decision-making processes more. If society cannot let them vote, it should at least listen to what they are saying and honestly try to understand the people who are adjusting to new technologies at a rapid pace. Places where de novo adoption is occurring are the places to learn. Those people are appropriating new technologies without prior constraints – and they may show the rest of the Information Society what is possible or what is useful. The $100 Laptop is a nice example: It will teach about cultural adaptation to technology. The Information Society must recognize that the scale of things is larger and the reach of things is longer systematically. People need to learn to focus not just on local phenomenon but on global phenomenon.

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