Ethics & Technology

November 20, 2011by

In this lecture we consider some of the many moral issues associated with the development of modern technology. Topics covered include the moral code that informed the development of the hardware and software of the internet revolution, the effects of technology upon people, culture, and government, along with the legal and economic issues it raises.

Ethics & Technology


The Life of Technology


The Technium

Kevin Kelly, one of the founders of WIRED magazine, argues that technology is now “the most powerful force in the world.” And far from being a cold ahuman, or even anti-human phenomenon, Kelly has found from several years of research that “Technology is basically an extension of life.”

Transhumanism

Futurist Ray Kurzweil offers here some of his speculations on how human life might be transformed by coming developments in technology.

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Extras


  • Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the world wide web) on Linked Data
  • Kevin Kelly on The Next 5,000 Days of the Web
  • Adam Ostrow on What Happens to Your ‘Web Presence’ When You Die
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    Hire the Hackers


    Misha Glenny has some ideas that might revive some of the positive elements of the “hacker ethic” discussed in the lecture. As it developed with some inherently positive moral intentions, it may now be able to fulfill some of those hopes.

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    Extras


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Technology & Democracy


Inside the Egyptian Revolution

Wael Gonim, the Google executive who helped jumpstart Egypt’s democratic revolution with a Facebook page memorializing Khaled Said, a victim of the regime’s violence, here tells the inside story of how everyday Egyptians showed that “the power of the people is stronger than the people in power.”

The Internet in Society

Evgeny Morozov offers a critique of “cyber-utopianism,” the popular idea that the internet plays a largely emancipatory role in global politics.

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Extras


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Gaming


We concluded the lecture with a look at Michael Highland‘s insightful and artistic exploration of the effects gaming has had on his life. Here are a couple of further developments on his theme of gaming for the greater good.

Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken, says games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. Here she explains how we might be able to harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems.

Tom Chatfield talks about the measurability of gaming, and how mining game data can help us understand what people find truly rewarding, and how hard we’re willing to work for a win.

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Extras


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