Huesemann and Huesemann refer to the negative effects of technological advancement as “unavoidable” and “intrinsically unpredictable”. (p.15) Essentially, the few positive results that are gained through technological fixes aren’t worth the larger negative consequences that will eventually take place as a result of disrupting and attempting to overpower our natural place in the world. Johnston introduces the problems with technological fixes by considering the “cultural, ethical, and political dimensions” of such methods. (p.52) He argues that both historically and currently, scientists have gone about trying to fix social issues through a narrow and simplistic scientific lens. This approach can’t possibly provide an adequate solution to such complex problems in a multi-dimensional society.
Human-kind is gaining more and more knowledge every day, but it remains a tiny fraction of everything there is to know about the world and the intricate relationships within it. It’s simply impossible to fully predict the outcomes of introducing new technology. Even if it could be predicted, the perspective of “positive” and “negative” effects differ wildly among different people with varying values and ethics. For instance, the invention of many life-saving technologies is pivotal and important to virtually everyone. However, it’s contributed to the massive increase of people on the earth, which has proven to be environmentally negative. Unintended consequences shouldn’t halt technological advancement in its tracks, but it should demand a new mindset. Scientific innovation shouldn’t be replacing social scientists with engineers, but rather make social science more important than ever. The increase of technological power should bring about more studying, care, and deliberation to decide if technology should be used as an attempt to fix our problems. It’s foolish to think technology can fix such a complex system. However, it’s arguably impossible, and perhaps equally foolish to try and eradicate technological fixes altogether.