Moral Dimension of Technology




The historic derivation of the term technological know-how arrives from the Greek term technikos, meaning “of art, skilful, practical” and the part of the term ology signifies “know-how of” or a “systematic therapy of.”

Hence the derivation of the term technological know-how is literally “know-how of the skilful and practical.”

Even so, this definition is as well common to indicate how a single could predict know-how of the practical prior to it exists.

For this rationale, allow us use a a little distinct definition of technology.

We will outline technological know-how as the know-how of the manipulation of character for human purposes.

This definition retains the notions both equally of know-how and practicality (human purposes) but provides the new thought of manipulation of character.

This indicates that all practical or complex skills in the long run derive form alterations of character.

Technology relies upon on a foundation in the pure environment but extends the pure environment by way of the phenomenon of manipulation.

Since we want to manipulate character, the capability to predict what character will do when manipulated is most practical, in truth vital.


By really definition, technological know-how manipulates character for human purposes.

Hence, technology intervenes in the lives of human beings, instantly or indirectly, hoping to alter behaviours.

Technology, thus, has an moral dimension.

The really raison d’etre of technology is human goal.

What is the essential goal of human lifetime?

Is it to raise standard of dwelling?

Or is to enhance top quality of lifetime?

Or is it to enrich satisfaction in lifetime?

All these various aspects can be distilled into a single holistic thought: Price OF HUMAN Life.

Price OF HUMAN Life

The value of human lifetime could be outlined as the balance or ratio amongst satisfaction or contentment and soreness or struggling.

Price OF HUMAN Life = Pleasure / Struggling

In the context of this definition, the final goal of technology is to enrich the value of human lifetime, with a prolonged-term perspective, by maximization of contentment and satisfaction and a concomitant reduction or minimization of soreness and struggling (physical, mental and emotional).

As a generalization, folks want a much better lifetime. A much better lifetime can ordinarily be transcribed as liberty from want, entry to and possession of at the very least some of the nonessentials or luxuries, great wellbeing, a fair lifetime expectancy, the absence of emotional pressure, gratifying human relations (resulting from gratifying do the job encounter), intellectual stimulation, and personally rewarding leisure pursuits.

Requirements AND VALUES

Human demands and values change by way of time as technology improvements.

Person tends to accept the fruits of new technology much more commonly (satisfaction/contentment/convenience) whilst he is reluctant to accept modifications in his own lifetime.

Hence social and cultural modifications always lag driving technology leading to a mismatch which for that reason sales opportunities to unhappiness, dissatisfaction, soreness and struggling (emotional) and consequent lowering of the value of human lifetime.

A crude but practical way of classifying human values is to divide demands into those people that are essentially physiological and those people that are psychological. Most new technologies cater to physiological demands by undertaking harmful, soiled, or hard tasks (the 3 D’s) thus enhancing the value of human lifetime.

As regards psychological demands, an case in point pertaining to Information Technology (IT) could be in order.

IT caters to two one of a kind classes of psychological demands of people: Cognitive Requirements which refer to the human will need for info so as to be prepared to act or make choices that could be needed, and Affective Requirements which refer to the emotional prerequisites of human, these types of as their will need to do complicated do the job, to know their do the job has value, to really feel personally secure, and to be in command.

Undue emphasis on cognitive demands and the neglect of affective demands could lead to emotional soreness which counterbalances the gains to cognitive demands which could be detrimental to the value of human lifetime as a whole.


In our haste to milk technology for quick financial edge we normally get rid of sight of the prolonged-term outcomes: the larger order and indirect effects, especially the delayed and unintended effects of technology.

The Sorenson multiple influence network methodology is a practical technique for an examining the impact and outcomes of technology.

The term malefit is launched to depict damaging effects and outcomes of a technology in contrast with advantage as a practical output.

The outcomes of a technology [Effects vs Effects] could be classified as:

Effects Effects

(i)      1st Order           :         Positive aspects

(ii)     Next Get        :         Immediate Malefits

(iii)    Third Order          :         Indirect Malefits

(iv)     Fourth Order        :         Unintended Malefits

(v)      Fifth Order          :         Delayed Malefits

This kind of analyses undoubtedly aid in evaluating the impact of various outcomes of a technology on the value of human lifetime in the prolonged-term perspective in holistic fashion.

Early identification of elements detrimental to the value of human lifetime could establish practical in technology assessment to lessen mismatches.

We have to not get rid of sight of our fundamental premise that the cardinal goal of technology is to raise the value of human lifetime by maximising contentment and minimising struggling.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009

Vikram Karve has asserted his suitable under the Copyright, Types and Patents Act 1988 to be discovered as the creator of this do the job.