Technology: How Far We Have Come and What Is Still in Store
As the vast technological world continues to flourish and expand over the decades, it can be assumed that our admiration and respect for technology may increase with each advancement made. Nevertheless, many of us can admit to allowing feelings of frustration or anger to overcome us a time or two when faced with a lack of speed, connection or understanding with certain pieces of technology today. I confess to these happenings on numerous occasions. This natural human quality to take advantage of the privileges we are granted is very common. However, when presented with a brief history of this technology I utilize daily, specifically the computer and the World Wide Web, I was immediately humbled. ¹ It is difficult to complain about waiting an extra five seconds for an image I took 30 seconds ago to upload and allow my friends and family from miles away to view it, when years ago they were operating computers with a hand-crank.¹ It is crucial for us to think twice about our “struggles” with technology today and understand how far we have come.
The article regarding the history of the Web allowed me to gain an appreciation for the great achievements we have made today. As we make these advancements, the question of ethics and the power in the progression of technology comes into question. Nevertheless, what must also be kept at the forefront of the conversation is what impact a withdrawal or regression in the progress of technology would have.
While speaking on appreciation of the advancements of technology, we must also focus on the individuals who have made these advancements a reality. As a student pursuing a career in medicine, as I read about the individuals who have crafted the innovations in technology, I am truly in awe. Not only am I inspired by the capabilities and intelligence of these individuals, but I am also inspired by their perserverence. In times when the ideas they had may have had seemed like a fantasy to others, they persisted. For example, Dr. Philip Emeagwali and his creation of the programme for the fastest computer on earth which had the ability to, according to Childnet International “run more than 3.1 billion calculations per second.” ² Despite the technology I use each day, if I was told this is possible I would have a hard time believing it in the 21st century let alone all those years ago. It is innovations such as this that allow us to step back and pay appreciation towards those who allowed today’s technologically advanced society to be manifested into a reality.
Looking at the Bigger Picture
Despite the good intentions of these innovators over the decades, technology has become immensely powerful and has grown to have a dominance over numerous areas of our lives from politics to health to medicine. With an idea that has such power over our society, the conversation of ethics in technology must be facilitated. Unfortunately as highlighted in these articles, ethics is not simply someones idea of right or wrong, it is not the law, it is not a science. Ethics is a much more abstract concept with it’s own framework. The practical method for exploring ethics posed in the article was a good way to place the abstract concept of ethics into a more concrete set of rules and guidelines. The framework included recognition of the issue and testing of alternatives to the posed solution using factual evidence and reflection.³ Using this framework to make decisions regarding the use of technology in the years to come may be tedious, but it will allow technology to flourish without diminishing the moral and ethical standards of our society.
- McFadden, Christopher. “A Brief History of the Web: From 17th Century Computers to Today’s Digital Empires.” Interesting Engineering, Interesting Engineering, 6 July 2020, interestingengineering.com/a-brief-history-of-computing-and-the-web-from-17th-century-computers-to-todays-digital-empires.
- Childnet. “Black Inventors and Pioneers Who Have Influenced the Way We Use the Internet and Technology Today.” Childnet, 21 Oct. 2020, www.childnet.com/blog/black-inventors-and-pioneers-who-have-influenced-the-way-we-use-the-internet-and-technology-today.
- University, Santa Clara. “A Framework for Ethical Decision Making.” Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/a-framework-for-ethical-decision-making/.