Moral Problems of New Technologies
This chapter addresses some of the numerous challenges for ethical reflection that result from new and emerging technologies. I focus mainly on technologies that are relatively directly related to the human body, more specifically biomedical technologies. Other fields, such as information and communication technologies, transport, or military technologies will not be addressed here, which does not mean that the moral dimensions of these areas are less important. I will begin by exploring problems related to knowledge, and, resulting from this, problems concerning uncertainty, privacy and control. The second section addresses (possible) moral problems of enhancement. A third field of moral problems of new technologies concerns issues of equity and justice of access and opportunity. In the final section of this chapter, I will integrate the different moral dimensions of new technologies under the perspective of moral responsibility. In this context, I will conclude with brief considerations about a specific take on technology and human agency: namely, technological mediation. Throughout the chapter, I will address relatively new, but ‘established’ technologies that are already in use on a large scale as well as currently emerging technologies and sometimes even technological developments that are envisaged by some, but not yet in the stage of concrete development and use. Even if they appear ‘futuristic’ at times, such technological visions need to be included in any comprehensive analysis of modern technologies because they exert an enormous influence upon our imaginaries and our ideas concerning, for example, human wellbeing, health, and so forth.