The Politics of Technology
Superior expertise about how technologies work does not guarantee superior judgment about how they should be used, regulated, or governed. As technology becomes more sophisticated, how can citizens and political leaders judge and understand whether a given technology offers great perils or great promises? When great technological projects, such as venturing farther into the galaxy or developing new life-extending medicines, are proposed, how should government officials make decisions about how tax dollars should be spent?
Think of birth control pills, an Olympic runner in a race with artificial legs, video technology that can now pry into our private lives on the street. Electric and electronic technologies that drain our power grid. Cars crowding streets and poisoning the air and changing the international dynamic due to the importance of oil. Life extension medical technologies that have the effect of rising our medical costs as more seriously ill people more old people are living longer often with a low quality of life. There was little government involvement in technology issues and developments in the past but now we are beset by a host of questions produced by more and more technological innovation.
Environmental issues are rising to the forefront and suggested remedies for the prevention of ruining our environment have price tags in the billions and trillions. How should governments deal with these issues. The Chinese government enforces a “one-child” policy. It is difficult to imagine the US government trying such a policy here. But how can these decisions be made or shall we just let technology happen and then try to deal with the consequences on a personal level?