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What is the ethical behavior of a technologist?

What is the ethical behavior of a technologist?

The ethical behavior of a technologist refers to the moral principles that should guide the decisions made by a professional in technology as part of their work. the ethical behavior of a technologist.

However, in the case of technology professionals, there are situations that prevent the construction of a fixed code of ethics.

On the one hand, technological advances are happening very fast, creating new ethical dilemmas every day. This complicates the stability of ethical standards over time.

On the other hand, technology today has spread to all areas of human life. This is not only part of the industry, it is present in culture and in everyday life. For this reason, the ethical issues of the technologist are growing.

Concepts for understanding the ethical behavior of a technologist

Ethical dilemmas

While the benefits that technology has brought to society in various ways are obvious, it is also clear that new challenges have emerged:

It should be borne in mind that technology currently occupies an important place in people’s daily lives. Households, schools, industry, governments and all human industries are currently undergoing technology.

This phenomenon has brought great benefits to human development. However, it is also necessary to recognize the great power that has been placed in the hands of some people: those who produce and sell technology.

Thanks to this new force, new problems and new ethical dilemmas arise. One of them is the focus of the economy on technology, environmental degradation for technological purposes and manipulation of information.

Nuclear technology opens the debate on weapons of mass destruction and radioactive waste. The production and mass consumption of electronic devices opens the debate on the depletion of raw materials.

Advances in biotechnology are also controversial. Genetics opens the debate on cloning and genetic modification.

Communication technology has also changed the way people interact. There is growing information, but there are concerns about the reduction of personal contacts and the cooling of human relations.

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Usually, technologists focus on certain principles of their work. Some of them are efficiency, effectiveness and knowledge search.

However, these principles are not sufficient for technological advances to be ethical. In fact, sometimes the search for efficiency or effectiveness may be against the environment or against the integrity of people.

For this reason, it is necessary to expand the interests of technology. It is not enough for technologists to constantly achieve new achievements. It is also necessary that these achievements be responsible.

  • Basic principles

Most universities have their own codes of ethics for the technologist. These codes combine a number of common values ​​that apply to all technology professionals, regardless of their specific field.

These general values ​​can be summarized in two groups:

Maintain the technical competence of technological developments. That is to ensure its proper functioning and efficiency.

Avoid injuring other people, your property, or your reputation. Either as a consequence of its technological development, or its further use.

These values ​​are fundamental, but they focus on technical functioning and the scientific environment.

For this reason, they are not sufficient to guide the technologist in the new ethical dilemmas presented by society.

  • Technology at the service of life

A broader ethical approach recognizes the enormous impact that technology has on human life, and postulates a different principle for technologists: just because something can be done does not mean it is right.

This does not mean that technologists should limit themselves in their development, but it is an invitation to give a different approach to creativity.

This is a motivation to think about alternatives that help society. It is a question of development of responsible creativity that allows to generate the innovation compatible with a life which has the highest criterion of social service.

  • Calculate environmental costs

In technological development projects, it is very important to establish what the economic costs are. However, the same calculation of environmental costs is not so often made.

In fact, possible environmental damage is ignored in order to save costs and promote science.

For this reason, the fundamental value of the technologist now lies in the awareness of the environmental costs that his work may have.

This does not mean stopping the development of technology, on the contrary, it means giving it an approach to environmental responsibility.

  • Data processing

Information and communication technologies have also posed new ethical dilemmas.

The vast amount of private or privileged information currently circulating online has become a resource of social, political and economic interests.

The power of technologists to access or manipulate this information also requires ethical behavior.

However, there is no single version of what ethics should apply to information technology.

For example, different groups of hackers call themselves “ethical hackers.” They claim that their work provides a social service because there is information that should be publicly available.

In this sense, it is impossible to define clear rules as to what should or should not be done with information.

On the other hand, if Kant’s postulate can be rejected: “people must behave in such a way that if everyone acted in the same way, everyone could benefit.”

  • By law

Another consequence of the rapid development of technology today is related to legality. The constant emergence of new technologies raises legal dilemmas, as there are no rules to regulate all new situations that arise.

For this reason, the technologist must start with the basic premise in his work: not everything that is legal is necessarily correct.

Currently, technologists and companies have to create their own moral codes. These codes, of course, must take into account the laws of each country. However, it is also necessary that they go beyond.