The Ultimate Value of Technology

The Ultimate Value of Technology

Robert A. Schultz (Woodbury University, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-779-9.ch012
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Abstract

In the previous chapter, we saw how difficult it was to determine the value of information technology, even with a clearly defined point of view from which to assess that value, namely, the interests of the organization utilizing the technology. Over and above the point of view of the organization or even the economy as an aggregate of organizations, there are other perspectives to consider. Is it correct to view technology as another enabling value like health and wealth, an all-purpose means that enables us to achieve any number of our ends?1 Or should technology rather be viewed as an entirely different way of structuring reality? These questions raise broader issues that need to be considered from much wider points of view: What is the value of information technology for humanity as a whole? And finally, what is the value of information technology for being as a whole? In considering these questions, we need also to consider whether the value of information technology is best assessed as a part of technology generally, or whether information technology has its own characteristics relevant for assessing its value. I will examine issues concerning technology as a whole in this chapter, and return to the IT-specific issues in the next chapter. Beyond considering technology and information technology from the point of view of humanity as a whole, it may be necessary to consider technology and information technology from the point of view of being as a whole. One could think of the point of view of being as a whole as God’s point of view, except that many religious conceptions of God assign many different human attributes to God. And so to determine what is valuable from God’s point of view would embroil us in major religious disputes about God’s nature. Trying to take the point of view of being avoids such disputes. Rather, we are asking, what is the value of technology from the point of view of the unfolding or revealing of whatever is, has been, or will come to be?2 Even the point of view of humanity is itself very difficult for many people to embrace. Instead, their highest point of view is that of some limited human group, most typically national or social groups, ethnic groups, or economic groups or organizations. Yet even with these difficulties, it is easier to discuss the value of technology and information technology from the point of view of humanity as a whole than it is to discuss these questions from the point of view of being. So we will start with the point of view of humanity.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Douglas J. Cremer
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1
Robert A. Schultz
Most discussions of ethics and information technology focus on issues of professional ethics and issues of privacy and security.1 Certainly these... Sample PDF
Ethical Issues in Information Technology
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Chapter 2
Robert A. Schultz
In this book, “ethics” is a general term for concerns about what people should do. The term “ethics” comes from the Greek word ethike, which means... Sample PDF
A Backgroun in Ethical Theory
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Chapter 3
Robert A. Schultz
A few other background issues deserve clarification before I examine specific ethical problems of information technology. IT always appears in the... Sample PDF
The Context of IT Ethical Issues
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Chapter 4
Professional Duties  (pages 44-59)
Robert A. Schultz
It is perhaps easiest to begin the application of ethics to information technology with the ethical responsibilities of IT professionals. Several... Sample PDF
Professional Duties
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Chapter 5
Robert A. Schultz
As we saw from the last two chapters, the ethical IT professional is embedded in contexts of management, organization, and society. Ethical behavior... Sample PDF
Justice in a Market Economy
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Chapter 6
Robert A. Schultz
In a competitive market economy, one is required to serve the interests of one’s employer or corporation. As we saw in Chapter IV, Professional... Sample PDF
Trust Issues in a Market Economy
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Chapter 7
Robert A. Schultz
Removal of jobs from one country to another to exploit lower paid workers tends to raise objections from those whose jobs are removed. However... Sample PDF
Offshoring as an Ethical Issue
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Chapter 8
Privacy and Security  (pages 107-118)
Robert A. Schultz
Privacy and security are the first topics involving the interface of the individual with information technology. The two topics of privacy and... Sample PDF
Privacy and Security
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Chapter 9
Copyright and Piracy  (pages 119-132)
Robert A. Schultz
As I noted in Chapter II, information technology’s basic feature of easy reproduction of digital information gives rise both to new benefits and to... Sample PDF
Copyright and Piracy
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Chapter 10
E-Problems  (pages 133-143)
Robert A. Schultz
In Chapter I, I observed that new uses of IT will be built on four basic features of information technology: • Speed of information processing •... Sample PDF
E-Problems
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Chapter 11
Robert A. Schultz
Besides being of interest in its own right, the question of the value of information technology (IT) has ethical implications, primarily for... Sample PDF
Valuing Information Technology
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Chapter 12
Robert A. Schultz
In the previous chapter, we saw how difficult it was to determine the value of information technology, even with a clearly defined point of view... Sample PDF
The Ultimate Value of Technology
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Chapter 13
Robert A. Schultz
In order to conclude our discussion of the value of information technology, we need to answer these questions: What characteristics does IT share... Sample PDF
The Ultimate Value of Information Technology
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Chapter 14
Conclusion  (pages 196-200)
Robert A. Schultz
Writing this book was very much a learning process for me. I began with the idea that the theories of John Rawls might be able to illuminate ethical... Sample PDF
Conclusion
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About the Author