The war between Technology and Ethics



“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Albert Einstein’s words are exceedingly true. Technology has unconsciously seeped into our lives, and this can have two effects. Technology can either boost the world’s development, but it can also give way for different people can make use of technology unfavourably. This topic essentially assumes that there is something inherent in technology that can cause people to become less ethical. Ultimately, technology can be characterised in three different ways. First, its advances are sudden and rapid. Second, it is pervasive, and can be very tempting to abuse. Third, it confers great power upon mankind. Technology, in fact, has not made us less ethical, but in fact can make us more ethical in some cases.

Technology is largely popular among technology, because it is constantly changing, and provides new forms of hope, and lifestyles for today’s people. As a result of this, people are not sure how they should treat certain new technological developments which exists in the grey areas. For example, the creation of the first cloned being, Dolly the Sheep in 1996 sparked off much controversy. People were worried that the technology created would be applied to humans, which would end up being very dangerous. However, history has shown that our current system of ethics is very reliable. The basic ethics in man has not altered much, as people are generally told not to harm people, and to respect the sanctity of human life. Just because technology changes, it does not mean that our basic ethics changes. Furthermore, technology affirms the general sentiment that ethics is kept. Shortly after Dolly was created, there was discussion between the developed countries at great length. In the end, there was an agreement in the United Nation’s Declaration on Human Cloning, calling for member nations not to infringe upon human dignity in any way. In addition, the use of medical technology has proved to be useful. As a result of vaccinations, the number of people dying from malaria has dropped from 20 million to a mere 8 million, and there has been an increase in the average life expectancy. This reflects the strength of Man’s ethics, as people reverted back to their fundamentals before delving into the usage of technologies in the grey areas.

Proponents of the topic would also argue that the fact that technology is all around us allows for great exploitation. Criminals would have more means to do unethical things, for example identity theft and data mining using computer programmes. This means that more people will be harmed by the lack of ethics. In addition, the fact that technology was the catalyst for such unethical actions would mean that technology is the cause of all this. However, the thing is that the benefits greatly outweigh the harms caused. Technological advances have created the opportunity for us to do much more. For example, the “pervasiveness” of information technology has allowed for the rapid dissemination of information. The Internet has provided Web 2.0 platforms to spring out, for example blogs, Facebook and Twitter. This allows for events from one end of the world to be seen at the other end. The fact that technology is the one being used shows that technology is merely a tool, and does not inherently change us. Conversely, criminals will not stop being criminals even though the Internet is not available for them. Furthermore, ethics is boosted through the available technology. For example, in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, social activism was given a leg up when the Internet allowed them to convince others to follow in their footsteps. Not only did it allow for more immediate aid for the people there, it also gave rise for willing donors who do not want to go all the way to Haiti. Evidently, the pervasiveness of technology can be turned into a concrete benefit, instead of making more people unethical.

 Some would assert that technology confers great power upon mankind. Technology is the means through which many people are harmed, and the degree of harm even increases as technology improves. For instance, the creation of the atomic bomb during the Second World War proved that technology is capable of making humans commit unethical acts. Thousands of people were affected by the radiation for countless generations as a result of Man’s actions, and this is clearly against one’s ethics. On the other hand, there are many possible explanations for the use of the atomic bomb, some of which are legitimate. When we look at the bigger picture, we note that the bomb was used mainly to stop Japan, a country who was also committing unethical acts. In addition, there can be different plans to ensure that such technology does not fall into the wrong hands. For example, smallpox, a deadly disease, can be used as a dangerous biochemical weapon, and is thus kept into two laboratories only around the world. These forms of check and balances can be used to ensure that unethical people are stopped, which in itself is an ethical act.

Technology has indeed pushed humans beyond the boundary, providing both opportunities benefit mankind and to the power misuse it, killing people. However, as of now, Man’s ethics has held out, ensuring that people are, in fact able to keep themselves in check. The question is – how long will this continue?

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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.