Lesson 3: Computer Dilemmas

It is tempting to argue that technologies are neutral and that it only makes sense to make moral and ethical judgments about them in terms of their use.

While it is true that every human development of technology has the possibility for constructive or destructive use, it is also true that at every step of the way in the processes of developing and producing technology, humans make decisions, value judgments that have positive or negative implications for human society.

Thus, technologies cannot be considered to be morally and ethically neutral in regard to human society, for we cannot ultimately remain neutral in assessing their societal implications.

The task of unearthing the values embedded in technology, of sifting through technological realities to distinguish those that affirm human society from those that are negative is sometimes called discernment.

As with every other element of human culture, we must approach information technology with discerning minds, hearts, and bodies.

We have already considered quite a number of the most celebrated implementations of information technology. We should now turn to a consideration of some of the more problematic aspects of information technology.

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These pages were written by Jeffrey L. Nyhoff and Steven H. VanderLeest and edited by Nancy Zylstra
© 2005 Calvin University (formerly Calvin College), All Rights Reserved.

If you encounter technical errors, contact computing@calvin.edu.