Do no harm: Technology, ethics and responsibility

  • Paul W. De Vore
Research Papers

Abstract

The focus of this article is on issues related to personal and collective responsibility in an increasingly complex technological society. A context for discussing questions that relate to the use of technical means and the long-term secondary and tertiary benefits, impacts and consequences is established with respect to ethics and responsibility.

It is proposed that there is a basic ethic for professionals in policy making roles in various fields of endeavor such as technology transfer. It is also proposed that there is a larger context within which this ethic must be grounded.

The larger context concerns the question of what it means to be truly human. Many thoughtful citizens of the world, including Vaclav Havel, President of Czechoslovakia, and George Ellis, South African Cosmologist, have addressed this question, often when involved in extremely difficult circumstances. They propose that the answer can be found through a search for meaning in the universe and by freeing ourselves from self-centeredness.

Keywords

Technology Transfer Technological Science Technological Base Large Context Moral Imperative 

References

  1. Barnett, H. G.Innovation: The Basis of Cultural Change. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. Inc., 1953.Google Scholar
  2. Boorstin, D. J.The Republic of Technology, New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1978.Google Scholar
  3. Booth, D. E.Valuing Nature: The Decline and Preservation of Old-Growth Forests. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1994.Google Scholar
  4. Clark, M. E.Ariadne's Thread: The Search for New Modes of Thinking: New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  5. Columbus Dispatch. “Chernobyl Cancer Rates May Soar.” (April 27, 1995): 3A.Google Scholar
  6. DeVore, P. W.Technology: An Introduction. Worcester, MA: Davis Publishing Company, Inc., 1980.Google Scholar
  7. DeVore, P. “Technological Literacy: The Evolving Para-digm.” InTechnological Literacy: 40th Yearbook, edited by M. Dyrenfurth and M. Kozak, 251–279. Council on Technology Teacher Education, 1991.Google Scholar
  8. DeVore, P. W. “Technology and Science.” InConducting Technical Research: 36th Yearbook, edited by E. N. Israel and R. T. Wright, Mission Hills, CA: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1987.Google Scholar
  9. DeVore, P. W. “Science and Technology: An Analysis of Meaning.”The Journal of Epsilon Pi Tau XIII, no. 1 (1987): 2–8.Google Scholar
  10. DeVore, P. W.. (1988). “Technology—An Examen.”Journal of Industrial Teacher Education 8, no. 3 (1988): 7–18.Google Scholar
  11. Gibbs, W. Wyat. “Thinking Globally, Acting Universally.”Scientific American 273 (October 1995): 50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Glimm, J. G.Mathematical Sciences, Technology, and Economic Competitiveness. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  13. Jevons, F. R. “The Interaction of Science and Technology Today, or, Is Science the Mother of Invention?”Technology and Culture 17, no. 4 (1976): 729–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kidder, T.The Soul of a New Machine. New York: Avon Books, 1981.Google Scholar
  15. Levy, S. “The Encryption Wars: Is Privacy Good or Bad?”Newsweek (April 24, 1995): 55–56.Google Scholar
  16. Natural Resources Defense Council. “In Defense of the Environment.”The Amicus Journal (Spring 1995).Google Scholar
  17. Normile, D. “Urban Oasis.”Popular Science (January 1995): 75–76, 86.Google Scholar
  18. “Plane Geometry: Boeing Uses CAD to Design 130,000 Parts for Its New 777.”Scientific American (March 1991): 110–111.Google Scholar
  19. Quigley, Carroll. “Our Ecological Crisis.”Current History 347, no. 59 (July 1970): 1–12.Google Scholar
  20. Reckter, B. “Man and the Greenhouse Effect.”The German Research Service, Special Press Reports XI, no. 02 (1995): 3.Google Scholar
  21. Reid, T. R.The Chip: How Two Americans Invented the Microchip and Launched a Revolution. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.Google Scholar
  22. Roodman, D. M., and Lenssen, N.A Building Revolution: How Ecology and Health Concerns Are Transforming Construction, 11, Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute, 1995.Google Scholar
  23. Siemen, R. H. “The Future of Climate Protection.”The German Research Service, Special Press Reports XI, no. 02 (1995): 1–2.Google Scholar
  24. Tondl, L. “On the Concepts of ‘Technology’ and ‘Technological Sciences’.” InContributions to a Philosophy of Technology, 1–18, edited by F. Rapp. Dordrecht-Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1974.Google Scholar
  25. United States Advanced Battery Consortium. “USABC Awards $18 Million Contract to Developers of Lithium-Ion EV Batteries.”USABC UPDATE (1995).Google Scholar
  26. Urban, M. “Technophobia.”Daimler Benz High Tech Report (March 1994): 50.Google Scholar
  27. Usher, A. P.A History of Mechanical Inventions, Boston: Beacon Press, 1959.Google Scholar
  28. Van Melsen, A. G.Science and Technology. In Duquesne Studies Philosophical Series 13. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  29. Vincenti, W. G. “Control-Volume Analysis: A Difference in Thinking Between Engineering and Physics.”Technology and Culture 23, no. 2 (1982): 145–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vincenti, W. G.What Engineers Know and How They Know It: Analytical Studies from Aeronautical History. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  31. Weber, M. “Oceans at Risk.”Popular Science (May 1995).Google Scholar
  32. White, S. “The New Liberal Arts.” InThe New Liberal Arts: an Exchange of Views, edited by J. D. Koerner. New York: Alfred P. Sloane Foundation, 1981.Google Scholar
  33. Winner, L.Autonomous Technology: Technics-Out-of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought: Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  34. Woodward, Kenneth L. “Vaclav Havel.”Newsweek (July 18, 1994): 66.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Technology Transfer Society 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul W. De Vore
    • 1
  1. 1.PWD AssociatesMorgantown

Personalised recommendations