The integration of technology into the workplace has resulted in a long trend of changing working conditions, from agriculture to today’s growing “knowledge economy.” This latest development depends on information technology, which may continue to evolve through eventual convergence with nanotechnology and biotechnology. Knowledge work places more emphasis on an expanded skill set, as opposed to the smaller set of specialized skills typically needed in an industrial economy. Future technological progress might lead to further enhancement of human potential or to even greater inequality (individual and national) in income distribution, generating even larger pressures toward the divisions in society. This is illustrated by recently proposed scenarios of accelerated and logistic growth of technological progress. In an attempt to understand these dynamics, a simple model is constructed to clarify a possible relationship between technology and social systems. The model, based on the technology maturation process, focuses on the delay in social systems in responding to a technological change. Examples of current problems of technology and social issues are reviewed in the model’s context. Some potential approaches to framing these problems from an ethical viewpoint are reviewed, including applying Rawlsian concepts of fairness and the “veil of ignorance” and applying a simple discount rate to balance perceived future risks, technological solutions, and uncertainty.
LePoire, D.J. (2005), "Exploring ethical approaches to evaluate future technology scenarios", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 143-150. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960580000268Download as .RIS
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