Emerging Technologies as a Tool for Development of Human Values and Global Peace

Emerging Technologies as a Tool for Development of Human Values and Global Peace

Zaki Ahmed (COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Pakistan), Kanwal Bilal (COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Pakistan) and Asad Ullah Khan (COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Pakistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3417-4.ch035
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Nanotechnology is one of the unique technologies, which have the potential to narrow down the rich, and poor divide in nations. Nanotechnology has the potential to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries by developing a closer relationship to reduce involuntary sufferings. This can be testified by the proven role of nanotechnology in remediation of environment, providing health, clean water, harvesting water from air, eco-friendly housing from green nanomaterials, eradicating malaria, water borne diseases, human tissue regeneration, increasing agricultural yields, as generate innovations with embedded human values. The morally neutral threatening technologies like nanotechnology would lead to circumvent socio-political opposition, the rich and poor divide and address the involuntary sufferings by providing human value based solutions. Nanotechnology is the tool given by nature to transform the silos mentality to a collaborative mentality for real world problem solving and respond to the challenges of human sufferings.
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There is universally no accepted definition of human values despite its importance to human society and its strategic impact on engineering, science and advancement of human civilization. It may best be defined as feelings and convictions regarding what is of strong worth in our individual and collective actions, values inherited in society. Ideologies and shared ethical and moral beliefs, which are the binding forces for communities. The value theory defines values as desirable, trans-situational goals, which vary in importance and serve to guide human beings in their lives. The human values have changed from time to time, with the rise and fall of different civilizations from stone age to silicon age. The impact of human values on society has been influenced by socio-economic conditions and scientific and technological growth. Basically, ten human values are implicit in the theories of the works of theorists and researchers (Schwartz, 2003; Cherchye, Ooghe, & Puyenbroeck, 2008).

The ten values are represented by self-direction, stimulation, hedonism, power, security, conformity, benevolence, tradition, universalism and achievement. A theoretical model of relations among ten motivational values is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Theoretical model of relations among ten motivational types of value

(Courtesy: Shalom It. Schwartz, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

An analysis of the leading causes of rise and fall of powerful empires in the context of human values is essential to understand the elements which were responsible for their collapse whereas, power in terms of arms and wealth touched great heights. Unfortunately, the universalism and benevolence values simultaneously dissipated.

With the loss of these values, the elements of security social welfare, openness and self-enhancement touched their lowest level leading to the disintegration of human values and the collapse of the empires. In this process of falling of mighty empires, most of the binding elements of human values such as wisdom which governs knowledge, integrity and individual morality, physically, spiritually and meta-physically, wisdom (sound judgments and actions for a better future of society), faith (confidence in action), respect, honesty, caring and universal cooperation with a high degree of tolerance were disintegrated.

Science and technology always had a great impact on the survival and perishment of great civilizations. The word ‘wisdom’ is one of the pillars of human values and it includes the impact of scientific and technological developments on society in long term and short term. The human developments in science and technology when synergistically combined should strengthen human values, if the technology is to be constructive. On the other hand, technology which weakens the human values, is disruptive. The success of scientific and technological advancement and development depends on how deep the human values are embedded in technologies.

The focus on economic and political values without due regards to human values may transform an innovation from being constructive to destructive as observed by past engineering catastrophes such as falling of roof of Tehran International Airport in 1979. It was the accumulation of snow on the roof which caused excessive compressive stresses and led to the falling of the roof. A large number of accidents have occurred in the year 2014 which is considered as the deadliest year in human history (Airsafe, 2015). As exemplified by crashing of Malaysian Flight 17 and 336, Air Algiers Flight number 5017, TransAsia airline flight 222. In only 138 days 700 precious human lives were lost. One prime factor leading to these disasters was the lack of technical training courses integrated with human values which bind the professional education with service and changes the professional approach from being subjective to objective.

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