Concept, Skill, and Intriguing Emerging Tech

The final short writing exercise in our philosophy class prompted us to identify a concept we learned, a skill we developed, and the most intriguing emerging technology we covered. We were then asked how we would explain or describe these to someone who has yet to take the course. Below were my responses, published here with permission from the instructor.

Concept Learned

Learning to identify and consider the ethical implications of emerging technologies was a concept I learned by taking this course. Ethics wasn’t something I generally or consciously thought about. It certainly wasn’t something I considered my responsibility as a technology user or professional. But after taking this course and realizing the impact that technology has on our lives and the decisions we make, it became quite clear that the responsibility falls on us, at least partially, to critically think about these ethical issues and begin to formulate a way to address or mitigate them.

Skill Acquired

This course helped me develop the skill to create Codes of Ethics by considering the purpose, values, and principles which apply to various emerging technologies. It has also forced me to think critically and deeply about how something that we normally take for granted, such as social media, could have a profound and lasting impact on our lives. This course teaches us to understand and build ethical frameworks. It shows us how we can highlight issues and values by looking through various ethical lenses, which we can then consider when developing our code. By applying this skill it forces us to be more cognizant of the effects new technologies can have on our lives beyond the purpose and function for which they were created.

CRISPR Gene Editing

Most Intriguing Emerging Technology 

I think the most intriguing emerging technology is one that has the most potential to either propel humanity forward or push humanity into extinction, and that is CRISPR. With CRISPR, genetic engineering took a giant leap forward by making it easier and more precise to edit the genome to a level of efficiency and accuracy never before accomplished. The use of CRISPR is inevitable and will soon change what it means to be a “normal” human being. We need to closely look at the ethical implications that go along with its use and implementation. This course will help stabilize, orient, and empower you by giving you the knowledge and skill necessary to contribute to a code of ethics which can lead to a better outcome for us all.

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One of the graded activities in my ethics course this summer was the Short Writing Exercise (SWE) in which we were prompted to reflect upon a recent reading, or answer questions regarding the latest topics we have covered in class. The responses to each SWE had a strict word limit, usually between 200 and 350 words. In total, we had seven SWEs during the 7-week summer program, and I have selected three of them to publish on my site, with permission from the instructor. The post above was in response to SWE7, submitted on 2 August 2022.