Your Scientists Can, But Should They?

Douthwaite takes a fairly pessimistic view on technological innovations, especially on the front of war, stating that it will quickly become, if it has not already, impossible to engage in combat as a result of technology. He also claims that technology is merely a means to an end, as opposed to an end in itself that will be a permanent staple of an evolving society. Johnston may be considered to be partially in agreement, however he presents a far more balanced and factual approach to the history of technology and how it relates to societal advancements. He presents an example of engineers solving the problem of people falling off trolley car platforms as a positive influence of technology on society, and later inserts a case of engineers getting carried away and producing far-fetched ideas for improving the quality of life of the populace by providing air conditioning to slums to decrease tension. Huesemann would likely be in large support of Douthwaite’s claims, according to his accounts of people more often than not lacking the foresight to think about the consequences of certain advances that have more detrimental effects on people and the environment than positive ones.
Humans, in general, gravitate towards solutions that provide instant solutions or gratification, which leads to a great number of problems. The atomic bomb is a fantastic two sided example of such modernization. On one hand, it provided an end to one of the most costly wars in history, and also gave rise to nuclear power, which is incredibly efficient at providing large amounts of energy to communities. However, the bomb itself created numerous problems for people and the environment. It conceived the possibility of a nuclear fallout should they ever be extensively used in war, and radioactive fallout is intensely damaging to the surrounding environment. I do not believe that unintended consequences should stop technology being implemented into society, as there are consequences for every action. Technology increases the wellness in a great many ways for people, the consequences just need to be considered for every new creation, and weighed against the benefits.

1 thought on “Your Scientists Can, But Should They?”

  1. Firstly, I love your title.
    Secondly, your example of the atomic bomb is perfect for the context of this situation. It’s the exact thing that Douthwaite warned about in the sense that we cannot go to war with certain countries or it would truly mean the end of the world.
    I also agree that we shouldn’t outright stop our technological advances because of the possible consequences, but I do believe that in the upcoming decades we need to severely consider those consequences and possibly consider them more important than any benefits. This depends on the situation of course, but just as a rule of thumb for the future.

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