Future of technology free essay sample - New York Essays


future technology essay

The future of technology is unknown for now. Many have talked about the subject matter. Technology might be leading us to a world of pure happiness and a place we all fantasized about when we were young or is it leading us down the wrong road with no return where we lose ourselves in the process. Future And Future Of Mobile Technology Words | 10 Pages. Hajrah Javaid HAP Afshin Pashai Future of Mobile Technology in Medicine As the global use of technology is increasing on a daily basis, it is having a huge effect on daily lives too; most people are using laptops, smartphones, tablets or . The question is how the new future technology will change the direction of economics and by that our living on Earth or maybe on some other planet The world population is growing fast. The room to live on earth might be a problem in future, and Earth might ot be able to feed the upcoming sfgoqvs.cf: Daniel.

The Future of Technology free essay sample - New York Essays

PDF future technology essay. More on Yuval Levin. Enter your email address to receive occasional updates and previews from The New Atlantis.

Follow The New Atlantis, future technology essay. T o think about technology is to think future technology essay the future. It is, unavoidably, to speculate and to predict, to imagine how our lives might be affected by new tools, new methods, and new powers. Most arguments about technology are therefore really arguments about the future.

They give voice to different sorts of expectations about progress and change, and to different sorts of intuitions about the character of human life. The particular technology being debated is often secondary to these larger much-disputed themes, and the public debate is shaped by different ways of imagining the future at least as much as by the future technology essay technical potential of a new device or technique.

This has certainly been the case in the most prominent set of arguments about technology in America today — arguments about human biotechnology. For at least three decades, future technology essay, but especially since the late s, the future of these biotechnologies has been a hot political issue in this country.

Novel prospects for manipulating nascent human life, enhancing physical or mental powers, reshaping the life cycle, or otherwise exercising unprecedented control over our biological selves have increasingly been fodder for public argument.

Advocates and critics of these emerging powers tend to agree about one thing: biotechnology will play a critical role in shaping the future of humanity. But how we conceive of that role has a great deal to do with how we think of the future more generally.

At issue are future technology essay exactly different sets of predictions, future technology essay. At its extremes, each side in the biotechnology debates may indeed have some future technology essay image of the future in mind, whether of a post-human techno-utopia or of some static nostalgic ideal. But for the most part neither side pretends to know exactly what is coming, and both recognize that the future will not yield any one permanent or stable state but a dynamic and constantly evolving experiment in human living — just like the past and the present.

Rather than specific competing predictions of the future, at issue in these controversies are different ways of imagining the future in general, and different ways of thinking about some large and basic questions: What is the future?

How do we get there? Who lives there? What matters most about future technology essay Such questions are rarely taken up so explicitly, of course, but behind the arguments of different partisans in the biotechnology debates there clearly lurk a set of rudimentary assumptions about these very subjects.

These assumptions tend to coalesce into two broad schools of futurism: one thinks about the future in terms of future innovationsand the other thinks about the future in terms of future generations. The differences between them explain a lot about our contemporary technology debates, future technology essay.

Each is too easily and too often caricatured by the other, but if taken seriously, each also offers a rich and compelling anthropology of progress — a sense of how the future happens in real human terms. The biotechnology debates offer a uniquely vivid opportunity to examine future technology essay competing anthropologies of progress, and to see whether they point us to a reasonable and recognizable understanding of the human experience, and therefore whether they can be relied upon to guide our thinking about the future.

T o imagine the future in terms of innovation means, most fundamentally, to imagine change in terms of new ideas, future technology essay, and to think of life as an array of individual experiments and choices, future technology essay.

It is to ask how we might best encourage innovation, how we might allow the best innovations to flourish and the worst to be rejectedand how new ideas allowed to thrive can alter human life.

This may be the more familiar and — to us liberal, forward-thinking Americans — the more obvious approach to thinking about our future. For better or worse, the future will be shaped by the innovations and advances of the present: by what we develop, what we build, what we learn, future technology essay, what we discover, what we try and test and deem worthwhile.

Progress, in this sense, is made possible by improvements in our knowledge and understanding, our abilities, our circumstances, our institutions, our technology, and our control over nature and chance. There is of course always a danger that we may misuse our newfound powers, or even that they might corrupt us; but there are also reasons future technology essay believe that we will learn to use them responsibly, and that they will enhance our lives and improve our world.

Armed with a sense of the potential pitfalls, we stand a good chance of using our new technologies well. Not surprisingly, in the debates over future technology essay this innovation-driven view tends to be favored by libertarians of all parties — those who oppose restrictions on new techniques and technologies. This is not because they share some simple-minded optimism about biotechnology, but because they share a faith in the processes that drive innovation and progress in a free society, and believe that impeding these processes, or even trying to control them in advance, will only make things worse.

They do not deny that serious difficulties may arise as the result of new innovations and technologies, but on the whole they future technology essay that these difficulties can be overcome by the very same method that best serves innovation: trial and error governed largely by individual choice. Indeed, if we think of the future primarily in terms of human innovation, then this dynamic and unmanaged trial and error process turns out to be the all-important filter that determines what tomorrow will bring.

After all, it is usually foolish to try to control or even to predict the course of future developments in science and technology, and so any attempt to govern technology with strict rules determined in advance will probably fail to encourage the best and to prevent the worst.

Rather, the way to assure that the best practical innovations ultimately triumph is to assure that new ideas are put to the test of real-world use, so that only those that turn out to be good for us are kept, future technology essay. Those individuals most directly affected by some new innovation will be best able to judge its value, and if they find it is harmful or not worthwhile, they will reject it. The combination of innovation and choice, each feeding back into the other in a self-correcting process, will work in a complex, unpredictable, but highly effective way to secure for us a future that works, even if we could not have imagined it.

The future, after all, is our future, and so we are likely to make choices and to future technology essay the consequences of our choices in ways that look out for our own best interests, and therefore that seek the best sort of future. This anthropology of innovation is founded in a recognition of the intricacy and volatility of human life, and in the sense that both good and bad ideas may emerge from wholly unexpected sources, so that in thinking about the future we must above all be prepared for the unexpected and make room for it.

This means not closing off potential avenues of progress simply because we can imagine how they might lead society astray. We can never really know where anything will lead, after all, and it would be unfortunate to lose out on a possible advance only because we could not have imagined it. This general vision offers an account of the human condition that we can readily recognize, future technology essay.

It is the logic behind much of our liberal democracy, our free market economy, and our culture of individualism, and so has probably been responsible for more liberty, prosperity, and plain human happiness than almost any other set future technology essay ideas in the history of the human race. It is closely akin to the modes of thought that underlie the modern ideal of progress, future technology essay, and it also coincides nicely with the worldview of modern science and its devotion to trial-and-error experimentation, to an unimpeded freedom to inquire and explore, and to a forward-looking faith in progress.

It is therefore future technology essay surprise that those most adamant about this way of imagining the future are also especially adamant about defending science and technology from regulation or restraint in the political system.

Modern science and its progeny are agents of this kind of innovation, future technology essay, which is possible only in an environment that nourishes experimental liberty, future technology essay. This underlying vision of the future does, however, suffer from two particularly noticeable weaknesses, future technology essay, both of which are especially apparent in the biotechnology debates. T he first weakness is an inclination to utopianism, with many of its attendant eccentricities and dangers.

This may seem like a peculiar charge to lay at the feet of so dynamic a vision of the future. After all, the anthropology of innovation, even if it yields in glowing prophecies of better days to come, is not quite utopian in the conventional sense, because it usually does not envision an ideal, stable, blissful end-state toward which all innovation is tending.

Rather, it imagines an open-ended process of progress, by which new ideas and new knowledge are turned into new power and put in the service of the pursuit of happiness. Still, as Hans Jonas suggested in Future technology essay Imperative of Responsibilitythis view may be utopian in a deeper sense, future technology essay, and especially in the context of biotechnology, because it accepts at least as an option the possibility of profound and potentially permanent alterations in the human condition — indeed, future technology essay, in the nature of the human being.

The prospects of genetic selection or manipulation; of mood, memory, or personality control; of radical life-extension, and similar biotechnological possibilities add up future technology essay the prospect of taking our own nature in hand and making it an object of manipulation and design. In practice, this entails alterations of those facets of human nature that have always been the permanent future technology essay against which all other future technology essay has occurred and been measured, and that have always been the solvents of dangerous utopian fantasies.

But if our nature is in our hands, and our intrinsic inclinations and desires future technology essay be managed, then no such limitations would restrain utopian ambitions — especially if they were only exercised at first at the level of the individual. In some of its more extreme formulations, the short distance between the innovation-driven vision of the future technology essay and utopianism is very easy to see. Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performancea report released last year by the National Science Foundation, offers a glimpse of this sense of the future.

Certainly, future technology essay, the achievement of posthuman lifespans will require extensive revision of our way of life, our institutions, and our conception of our selves. Yet the effort is worth it. Limitless life offers new vistas, unexplored possibilities, future technology essay self-development. Indeed, the future technology essay expectation of conquering death has long been a hallmark of the more extreme formulations of the innovationist approach to the future, and of the hopes it tends to future technology essay in modern science, future technology essay.

But these are extremists, and such views are most certainly the rare exception even among libertarian futurists today. At the conceptual level, of course, what is revealed at the extremes of any movement can often teach us something about what is buried in the center. But it can teach us only so much, future technology essay, and the radical voices at the edges should not be taken to speak for the partisans of innovation more generally.

Most friends of innovation are not such outright champions of a post-human age. Their inclination to utopianism far more often consists of an inchoate readiness to contemplate a radical reworking of the human condition as one potential option for the future. This inclination may demonstrate a lack of moderation, future technology essay, and a willingness if not an eagerness to see the future unmoored from the past and the present. These are alarming indications, but in themselves they do not mean future technology essay the anthropology of innovation is somehow simply fanatical, or even wrong.

T he second flaw in this vision of the future does, however, pose a significant problem. Put simply, those who imagine the future in terms of innovation tend to think of the future as something that will happen to usand so as something future technology essay be judged and understood in terms of the interests of the free, rational, individual adult now living. That person is the basic unit of measurement in all of the theories of social life that inform the anthropology of innovation: the freely choosing individual of classic liberal democratic theory; the rational actor of free market capitalism; the consenting adult of libertarian cultural theories.

All of these models and theories serve us well because enough of us do more or less answer that description much of the time. But the future is populated by other people — people not yet born, who must enter the world and be initiated into the ways of our society, so that they might someday become rational consenting adults themselves. Strangely, what future technology essay missing from the view of the future grounded in innovation is the element of time, or at least its human consequent: the passing of generations.

What is missing is the child — future technology essay actual bearer of the future of humanity — and the peculiar demands, conditions, and possibilities that the presence of children introduces into the life of our society and its future. In part, children future technology essay absent from this vision of the future because the vocabulary of classical liberal and libertarian thinking leaves little room for them.

Government is legitimate because free individuals created it by choice and live under its rules in accordance with a kind of contract. But only the founding generation of any society can claim to have done that. The generations that follow did not freely create their regime, future technology essay. They were born into it, future technology essay, literally kicking and screaming, future technology essay.

They enter a world formed by laws, arrangements, and institutions that were established by others, but which they have no real choice but to accept. They are also incapable, for about the future technology essay two decades of their lives, of fully exercising the rights of citizens.

And yet every decision made by their society will directly affect them and those who will follow them, future technology essay. So by the logic of the theory, how can we take into account the needs and rights of future citizens who are not there to consent?

How can we keep from treating them unjustly? Liberal theorists have not been blind to this difficulty of course; and more importantly, like many things that occupy political philosophers, these concerns are really far more of a problem in theory than in practice. The theorists come up with complicated notions of implicit consent and implied participation, while in actual societies liberalism is suspended in the family, and parents are trusted to look out for the interests of their children.

Nonetheless, it matters that the theory of liberal society and the anthropology of innovation have serious trouble with children and with future generations. Our theories do shape our ideals and our actions, and affect our sense of what is legitimate and what is desirable. The most common answer to the future technology essay difficulty with the child is to treat children as the charge and almost as the property of parents, future technology essay, and so to apply the language of rights to them second hand.

This often makes good sense, but it also has the effect of subsuming the interests of the child within those of the parents, so that in principle our picture of the world can still consist purely of rational adults and their needs and wants. That way, we can continue to imagine the future without considering the distinctive challenges and the peculiar promise and hope that result from the presence of children in society.

But the absence of children in this vision of the future results from more than a gap in a theory, future technology essay. Even more important is the very practical way in which children pose a hindrance to any vision of progress.

Regardless of how much intellectual and material progress any society may make, every new child entering that society will still enter with essentially the same native intellectual and material equipment as any other child born in any other place at any other time in the history of the human race.


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future technology essay


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