Thursday, February 10, 2011

Technology...good or evil?

The question posed to the class today was,

"Is technology value-neutral"?

This is a very interesting topic, partly because there are so many types of technology. A spear could be technology. Microsoft Office could be technology. An atomic bomb could be technology. We attach values to these things, but I wonder if we are attaching the values to the use of the technology, rather than the technology itself.

Google's informal corporate motto is "Don't be evil". This, along with being funny, suggests that technology is, in fact, value-laden. Google is one of the first things that comes to most people's minds when they think of a technology corporation. They (Google) aspire to "not be evil". I think, however, that they are referring to what they do with their technology.

Techology refers to things, not actions. You don't "technology" something, you use technology. Lifeless items are in of themself neutral - it's how they are used that gives them value. Even things that are seen to be evil - say, an atomic bomb - only are evil when paired with an intent or a use.

In conclusion, technology itself is neither good nor evil. There are, however, many good or evil actions associated with technology that need to be taken into account when figuring out how one should use technology for the betterment of the world.

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