Synopses & Reviews
We generally associate scientific research and technological development with the promise of innovation and productivitythe goal is to create tools that will make our lives better, easier, and happier. Yet recently there has arisen widespread concern that technological development has become a juggernaut beyond human control. New tools such as 3-D printing, autonomous robots, cyberwar, synthetic organisms, toxic nano particles, big data and surveillance, designer babies, geoengineering, and complex financial computers threaten to not only outpace our understanding but also disrupt the structure of societyand even threaten humanity at large.
In TK, ethicist Wendell Wallach offers a nuanced consideration of these fears and answers the question: What responsibility do we have for the technologies we build? He tells the story of the risks, harms, and social impact of new technologies, the drivers of a scientific revolution that appears to be beyond control, and reflects on how we might give form to the future we are creating. Wallach includes in his critique emerging technologies such as genomics, life extension, robotics, and military applications of the same. He asks what these technologies are for, what they can do that they are not meant to do, and what it will take not just to control them, but to even begin asking the right questions so that we might be able to control them.
The dangers of unbridled technological development are real. But, as Wallach argues, many of those dangers can be significantly reduced, freeing us to reap the rewards of scientific progress. What we need is a little foresight and the willingness to make hard choices. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that we or our governments have the will, intelligence, or intention to make them. Indeed, there are reasons to believe that crises are inevitable, that the pace of calamities involving new and older technologies will accelerate, and that the capacity to give direction to the future of humanity is being lost. To counter this trend, Wallach proposes a shift in course, including recognizing the inflection points where it is still possible to give form to the adoption of new tools, and instituting policies for monitoring, managing, and modulating the development of emerging technologies.
A major reconsideration of the dangers and benefits of our technological future, TK forces us to confront the purpose, human and moral, of ourselves and the things we build.
Wallach presents students, academics, researchers, and generalinterest readers with an examination of the ethics of technological advances and the moral ambiguities arising from rapid, globaltechnological growth. The author has organized the main body of his text in fifteen chapters devoted to navigating the future, the paceof change, engineering organisms, mastery of the human genome, cyborgs and techno sapiens, and a wide variety of other relatedsubjects. Wendell Wallach is an author and a consultant, ethicist, and scholar at Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics.Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
From combat drones to nanotechnology, 3-D printers to synthetic organisms, our most recent inventions increasingly defy the norms for acceptable uses of technology. Who should be held accountable when machines break or when people die? What responsibility do we, as creators and users, have for the technologies we build?
In A Dangerous Master, ethicist Wendell Wallach tackles such difficult questions in a thoughtful reconsideration of our technological future. Examining the players, institutions, and values that stand in the way of the regulation of everything from autonomous robots to designer drugs, Tech Storm proposes solutions for regaining control of our technological destiny. Wallachs nuanced study offers both stark warnings and hope, navigating the middle ground between speculative fears about a dystopian future and the hype surrounding technological innovations. A masterful analysis of the forces we must manage in our quest to survive as a species, A Dangerous Master forces us to confront the purposes, both practical and moral, of our creations.
We live in an age of awesome technological potential. From nanotechnology to synthetic organisms, new technologies stand to revolutionize whole domains of human experience. But with awesome potential comes awesome risk: drones can deliver a bomb as readily as they can a new smartphone; makers and hackers can 3D-print guns as well as tools; and supercomputers can short-circuit Wall Street just as easily as they can manage your portfolio.
One thing these technologies cant do is answer the profound moral issues they raise. Who should be held accountable when they go wrong? What responsibility do we, as creators and users, have for the technologies we build? In A Dangerous Master, ethicist Wendell Wallach tackles such difficult questions with hard-earned authority, imploring both producers and consumers to face the moral ambiguities arising from our rapid technological growth. There is no doubt that scientific research and innovation are a source of promise and productivity, but, as Wallach, argues, technological development is at risk of becoming a juggernaut beyond human control. Examining the players, institutions, and values lobbying against meaningful regulation of everything from autonomous robots to designer drugs, A Dangerous Master proposes solutions for regaining control of our technological destiny.
Wallachs nuanced study offers both stark warnings and hope, navigating both the fears and hype surrounding technological innovations. An engaging, masterful analysis of the elements we must manage in our quest to survive as a species, A Dangerous Master forces us to confront the practicaland moralpurposes of our creations.
About the Author
Wendell Wallach is a consultant, ethicist, and scholar at Yale Universitys Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. He is also a scholar with the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics (ASU), a Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology, and a visiting scholar at The Hastings Center. At Yale, Wallach has chaired the Centers working research group on Technology and Ethics for the past nine years and is a member of other research groups on Animal Ethics, End of Life Issues, and Neuroethics. Wallach is the co-author (with Colin Allen) Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong, and has also published dozens of articles in professional journals. Wallach has been featured along with Hondas Asimov in the award-winning short film Living with Robots, and has been interviewed and quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BBC News. Formerly, he was a founder and the President of two computer consulting companies, Farpoint Solutions and Omnia Consulting Inc. Among the clients served by Mr. Wallachs companies were PepsiCo International, United Aircraft, and the State of Connecticut.