Societal Impacts and Perspectives
When applied to technology in general, Harris’s comment makes a good deal of sense. Decisions made, or not made, and actions taken, or not taken in the present can follow us long into the future. If we fail to make a decision or to act when confronted with the opportunity, we are every bit as ethically accountable as we are when we do make a decision or take action. A bit too much optimism can lead one to justify unreasonable risks in the immediate or short terms. At times, such optimism can make it difficult to even recognize the potential pitfalls of an endeavor. The cynical view, on the other hand, can leave one without the energy or motivation to move ahead responsibly, even when the potential benefits are great, or the potential problems obvious. In either case, the success of a project is jeopardized by incomplete planning and the inability to respond effectively to both opportunity and risk.