Principles taught to STEM students state that “engineers must gain an understanding of all the issues surrounding a particular design challenge. These issues might include the need for the project, relevant social and economic conditions of the target population, and project constraints and requirements.” Engineers and problem-solvers are not the problem. Short-term thinking is the problem. Wishful thinking is the problem. “It will do for now” is the problem.
Why are all of these nations and their assorted consortia heading to Mars? Are they truly exploring to improve the human condition, to expand and share scientific knowledge?
If only we knew more about the world that we live in. If only we understood that all things are interconnected. If only we could learn to value ethics above rank profiteering. We would make better decisions for ourselves and for our society. We would make good moral decisions. But we now know that access to factual knowledge does not necessarily improve the world. We are living that reality today.
Does access to science communication inevitably lead to greater public understanding of science, its discoveries, and their impact? Does access to online data sets inevitably lead to full comprehension of available information by scientists?
The word “regulation” has been demonized by those who back an unfettered world of sink-or-swim markets. Yet the need for order – not to mention the defense of the defenseless – is essential to a free and functioning society.
SSIT launches FutureProof, a refereed blog of concise, authoritative posts surfacing critical topics on the social implications of technology.