On the Role of Ethics in Shaping Technology Development
Important changes are taking place, currently, regarding the role of ethics in technology, particularly, in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. The adoption by the General Assembly of United Nations of the resolution A/RES/70/1 on September 27th, 2015, entitled "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", better known as "sustainable development goals", is making that different international organisations and countries adopt it as the minimum reference ethical framework for assuring that this revolution in course supports and contributes to achieving these goals. To better understand these changes, it is important to make a historical reference to how technology and the role of ethics were understood during the past 50 years. In this paper, I take as reference the influencing book “The Challenge Presented to Cultures by Science and Technology” (1977) of the Genevan philosopher Jean Ladriére, some ethical proposals made during the '90s, to end with some recent European Union (2019) and World Economic Forum (2018) ethical proposals. I conclude that there are continuities and discontinuities, first in the conception of science and technology in Jean Ladriére and others, and how recent proposals are approaching the issue, second on the role of ethics in this fascinating and revolutionary process. However, we may envisage a radical transformation of the conception of technology in the context of the worldwide request of shaping the fourth industrial revolution.
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