The importance of the relationship between ethics, science and technology

Contrary to popular belief, ethics, science and technology can coexist harmoniously, it all depends on how they are used for the benefit or detriment of human life.

Learn about the importance of their relationship in this interesting post.

The importance of the relationship between ethics, science and technology
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What is ethics in science and technology?

The term “ethics”, wherever it is implemented, means the same thing and it is a style of behavior applied to society, which is closely linked to morality and what is considered right or wrong. 

Now, science and technology do not escape from professional ethics and although important benefits have certainly been achieved through them, it is very easy to engage in inappropriate behavior from the point of view of what is right or wrong.

This is not to say that science and technology are unethical. On the contrary, because these fields of research have contributed enormously to people’s lives today. 

Then, when considering the possibility that science may be considered immoral or unethical, it is necessary to mention that important historical figures such as Einstein, Poincaré and Russell have expressed that in reality science does not make value judgments, but only provides truthful information about facts or realities, therefore the same premise is feasible for technology.

It is well known that science does not deal with issues related to values and therefore it is possible to consider it as ethically neutral, the same is true for technology.

In short, science and technology can be used for positive or negative purposes, such as curing or killing, preserving or destroying, liberating or enslaving; everything depends on how they are applied from the point of view of ethics. 

At this point it is appropriate to add that ethics is the way of acting in situations that could be considered controversial from one’s own criteria of what is right and what is wrong, while morality corresponds to norms that are handled externally and generalized for the whole society.

High angle view of multi-ethic group business people standing in queue at office

What is the importance of ethics in science and technology?

It is evident that although there are clear conceptions about morality and ethical behavior, it is entirely up to individuals to choose how they will act in certain situations. 

In addition, it is convenient to point out that although the scientific method implies leaving aside prejudices, it does not mean that science and technology are exempt from ethics, especially because both have a relevant impact on the environmental and social sector.

It is no secret that the abuse of science and technology at certain moments in history has generated destruction, and it is common in these areas of knowledge to tend to handle these types of situations as if they were inevitable consequences, when in fact they are not. 

When evaluating the negative effects that science and technology have generated on our planet, it is evident that behavior in accordance with ethics has not always been maintained. 

This puts into perspective the importance of business ethics in fields such as science and technology, whose scope is truly broad and therefore requires appropriate behavior to prevent collateral effects and irreversible damage to other people and the planet in general. 

Science and technology in themselves do not represent threats to human life; everything depends on how they are used by people.

For example, although the activities carried out in nuclear power plants are currently important, it is well known that they affect people’s health. So why haven’t effective solutions been proposed before implementing the use of such harmful technologies? 

On many occasions, these types of health or ecological problems are often minimized with the use of other technologies that also have harmful effects on life, or they are shown as inevitable consequences when in fact they could be prevented, prioritizing ethical behavior over other types of benefits.

How do ethics influence science and technology?

In most cases where negative situations occur due to the use of science and technology, it is because no one assumes the ethical responsibility for the damage caused by using these mechanisms in an inappropriate or inopportune way.

Ethics directly influences the use given to science and technology, since these areas of knowledge are currently attributed two types of responsibilities, one of which corresponds to facilitating people’s lives, optimizing their time or allowing them to generate greater income, while the other involves threats to human survival itself.

The mistake lies in considering that the negative consequences are part of these branches of research and knowledge, when in fact they should be attributed to the people who make use of them, leaving aside ethics to prioritize other aspects such as economic benefit or social recognition.

In this sense, it is common for people to appear as victims and not responsible for the implications of science and technology in today’s life, when the reality is that their harmful effects can be prevented or avoided if their promoters act in accordance with ethics and integrity.

In conclusion, although it may seem that areas of knowledge as modern and technical as these are outside the scope of fundamental values, the reality is that there is no field in human life that cannot be handled in accordance with what morality dictates regarding what is right and what is wrong.

History has shown that the most impacting events in the existence of human life have been directly conditioned by the actions or omissions made by the members of humanity themselves, as an invitation to learn from it and improve.

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