In specific environments, temporary circumstances, and small doses, technological fixes can prove to be exactly as they claim to be: a fix. Such is the case in Douthwaite’s own example of “Economic justice: To answer the problem of the equitable distribution of resources, our society uses the technology of mass production to make the resource so cheap that everyone can have one.” (Douthewait p.1) However, this is a very small and specific example in an entire spectrum of varying degrees of complex social issues that humans face. The problem with the technological fix as Johnston puts it is it’s too reductionist, meaning that it reduces the problem to its most simple elements and therefore creates a solution that is inevitably just as simple. The issue being that many factors that are not immediately in the vicinity of the causation of the social issue are ignored, and therefore in the solution they are ignored as well. Thus, a social problem that a technological fix could not solve is one that has to be answered broadly. Such as, what human values or ideologies are the best? And in the face of differing views on what the definition of the best is– utilitarianism, deontonism, etc. — why is the generated technological solution, in fact the best? In questions like these it’s nearly impossible to generate a technological device or system that can answer this question. The other problem with technological fixes is something that Mr. and Mrs Huesemann describe: unavoidable unintended consequences. Thus in the technological fix of economic justice, more problems begin to seep into the initial solution. Such as the issues that Douthewait himself spoke on like price fixing profiteering.
Technological solutions have unintended consequences because they are inherently reductionistic. A technical fix will only solve a very specific problem, therefore ignoring all the other factors that influence the problem at large. Another reason is the inevitable confidence in the solution that science provides, and while this confidence is rightly earned it ultimately provides an opportunity for possible repercussions to be ignored. Which is all good and well, but in discussing this so called ignorance of ignorance with their total conviction, Mr. and Mrs. Huesemann prove to be hypocrites. In assuming that every stride in human progress will inevitably result in a detrimental effect on the environment because in previous efforts it has, the Huesemanns effictively make the same mistake that they accuse members of the scientific community of making. They are ignorant of their own ignorance. Furthermore there is evidence currently to contradict their thinking in the form of nuclear fusion energy, and the Tarski paradox. While nuclear fusion has been acclaimed as the energy solution that’s right around the corner for many many years, it’s recently made significant progress as private industries are now investing in it. If nuclear fusion came to fruition it would directly contradict the Huesmann’s philosophy as it is a natural energy source (the sun’s heat is in fact the result of nuclear fusion) being artificially made by humans with little to no effect on the environment. Secondly the Tarski paradox is a theoretical math principle that basically gives a scenario in which something can be made out of nothing. While this is only theoretical it still provides leeway that the Huesemann’s thinking could be potentially flawed. In the end, I think that the only real thing we can be certain in, is that we can never truly be certain, or can we?