Quote #609 - Technologically Speaking #TechnologicallySpeaking
10 Mar, 2014
"We are too prone to make technological instruments the scapegoats for the sins of those who wield them. The products of science are not in and of themselves good or bad; it is the way they are used that determines their value."
"If there is technological advance without social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery, in impoverishment."
Interestingly, both of these quotes are from the 1960s. Prescient, indeed.
Of course, at the time they were dealing with some pretty awesome technology (and I don't mean "awesome" in the way it is used day and night these days, but in its true meaning, "causing or inducing awe," "inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear." And/or fear, it should say--could be more than one at the same time. I mean, we're talking the atom bomb, television, calculators, and the room-sized beginnings of the very first computers. Who knew where it would lead?
As we can probably not even conceive--except in sci-fi and fantasy--what may be coming over the course of this century.
But that's not what I'm thinking about right now. I'm thinking about the dance between what is possible, what is created, and how it is used. How both these statements are true, and yet . . .
It was a huge revelation for me when I recognized that although there are two sides to every debate--personal and political--that doesn't mean that they're of equal weight. Although it takes two to tango, one may be doing the preponderance of the leading, if not the dancing.
So it's not so much about social responsibility as social advance. If we don't recognize the value and validity of all people and all peoples on large and small scales (entire countries and each struggling child), technology will be used by those who are the most savvy at promoting their own short-term self-interest on an ever-larger and grander scale for greater and greater impact at the expense of all.
The social advancements of people of all genders and gender-identifications, ages, races, religions, professions, and sexual proclivities (as long as they are non-abusive and non-predatory) is the only thing that will save us. For when we recognize the value and validity of all, we are less able to ruthlessly exploit.
It's not about social responsibility; it's long-term self-interest. Enlightened selfishness. Far-sighted narcissism.