Science & Technology – the Developments That Shape our Future

John W. Martin asked:

Science & Technology – The Developments that Shape Our Future

Science and technology are broad terms that refer to all the concepts and devices created through human research and development. The ultimate goal of these constructs is to influence the way humans interact with their environment. While we frequently think of tangible items and inventions, science and technology also includes theories and conceptual systems. Science and technology are fields that are growing at an exponential rate and have a profound impact on our society.

One of the fastest growing areas of science and technology is communication. New inventions and improvements are truly making the world a smaller place. It is now possible to communicate instantly with virtually anyone on the planet. Additionally, communication can take the form of text, audio, or video transmissions. Unfortunately, science and technology are not always used for peaceful purposes. Weapons design and manufacture is a profitable industry, and numerous researchers are involved in this area. Recently, though, more and more developers have focused on creating non-lethal and passive weapons technology.

New developments frequently lead to controversy. For example, advances in stem-cell research have led to heated debate related to the morality of this field of experimentation. The use of human embryonic stem cells may be the key to curing countless diseases and medical conditions. However, research involves the destruction of human embryos. Thus, some people have argued this research is akin to murder and promotes the devaluation of human life.

Another controversial field is located at the other end of the scientific spectrum; the creation of life, both biological and artificial. Recent advancements have allowed scientists to use technology to fertilize human embryos, clone animals, and alter genetics. In fact, researchers have experimented with cross-breeding to produce entirely new species of plants and animals. Among the most profound are the liger, a lion/tiger cross, and the cama, a llama/camel hybrid. Additionally, progress has been made towards developing artificial intelligence. An artificially intelligent construct would be a man-made machine capable of observing and adapting to its environment.

Those who support scientific and technological advancements have also formulated specific ideologies to express their goals. Most notably, transhumanism has developed as a philosophy which supports the use of science and technology to enhance mankind’s cognitive and physical abilities. They foresee an inevitable future where humans will reach a “posthuman” state combining the body with technological improvements. Another pro-advancement ideology is techno-progressivism. This philosophy expounds the idea that technology can be used to enhance democracy and provide greater societal freedoms. Thus, techno-progressives believe in a moral and ethical use of new technologies and appropriate regulation of scientific advancements.

Science and technology can ultimately make our lives more efficient. However, no advancement is without its drawbacks. Thus, controversial research and harmful developments will inevitably continue. Ultimately, though, this is unlikely to deter future research. In fact, it seems researchers are more determined than ever to continue manipulating science and technology to develop new, innovative concepts.

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