How do we allow scientific innovation without ruining the world?

Use this forum to discuss the March 2018 Book of the Month, "Final Notice" by Van Fleisher.
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AbbyGNelson
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How do we allow scientific innovation without ruining the world?

Post by AbbyGNelson » 01 Mar 2018, 11:39

The pace at which new technology/ideas are created is breathtaking. It is highly doubtful that the companies, engineers, and scientists creating new things are thinking of all of the consequences that are possible from their innovation. In "Final Notice", since people know ahead of time that they are going to die, they take advantage of that and go on a rampage without consequence since they are going to die anyway.

Whether it's medical technology, the internet, or AI, the potential for world changing technology (good and bad) is constantly increasing. Elon Musk belives that AI will eventually destroy humans, that we have, "Maybe there's a five to 10 percent chance of success [of making AI safe],". While others like Mark Zuckerberg believe otherwise, "With AI especially, I'm really optimistic, and I think that people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios ... I don't understand it. It's really negative, and in some ways, I actually think it's pretty irresponsible."

What do you think? Do we allow innovation to continue without reserve or guidelines? Is that ethical? Is there a way to be more careful without losing out on new inventions that will truly help the world?

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Sarah Tariq
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Post by Sarah Tariq » 02 Mar 2018, 02:42

No doubt, every new innovation has it's pros and cons. Now it's on us how effectively we use the particular technology for the benefit of mankind. Gun is an important innovation. But it is the negative use, which is devastating society. There should be an effective control on gun's usage to avoid its harms.
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Post by Iamsofia » 02 Mar 2018, 08:13

Sarah Tariq wrote:
02 Mar 2018, 02:42
No doubt, every new innovation has it's pros and cons. Now it's on us how effectively we use the particular technology for the benefit of mankind. Gun is an important innovation. But it is the negative use, which is devastating society. There should be an effective control on gun's usage to avoid its harms.
I totally agree. You've just spoken my mind. Gun's are being used the negative way in our society Today. And like you said, if there is effective control on gun's usage the harms can be avoided.

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Post by Spirit Wandering » 02 Mar 2018, 09:28

As your post indicates, the ethical considerations about these innovations are complicated. As are the considerations about gun control. I'm one who thinks that reasonable controls are a good idea but not a complete answer. I think the only true answer comes when we can begin to develop more empathy for our fellow human beings. I think we could change the dynamics of many societal issues, including the two mentioned here, if we could begin to act from one simple, yet difficult premise: what we do to others, we do to ourselves.
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Post by brunettebiblio » 02 Mar 2018, 09:32

This is a question that's been (and will be) posed for a very long time. Certain technologies can alter human life completely, but at what cost and to what reward? When do things go from natural to unnatural? I think it really depends on the technology. I'd love to be able to choose the hair and eye color of my future child for example, but I would never want to be involuntarily resurrected as a cyborg. It really comes down to who has the final say in whatever that technology is, I think, and how much will it alter their life for both the positive and the negative, to answer whether or not a technology is ethical.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 02 Mar 2018, 10:22

This is such a difficult determination because you want to assume people will use knowledge and resources wisely and ethically. We can only say what we as individuals would do given certain options in life. Should I ever have a "final notice", I would not be seeking revenge. I really appreciated Fleisher's inclusion of the generous testers who gave to charity, said their goodbyes, and died peacefully. I truly believe I would be like them.

There are so many things we could take away from people because they don't use them properly, for the greater good, or in moderation. The government could ban the production of donuts because of how much sugar they have and they could cause obesity which leads to other health issues which leads to death. Should everyone be denied donuts because some people can't control their physical urges? I'm of the belief system that guns don't kill people and forks don't make people fat. Unfortunately the benefits do not always outweigh the negative outcomes but that is a result of CHOICES.

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Post by JuliaKay » 02 Mar 2018, 10:38

I think we are getting to the point that there will have to be more regulations and limits. It is hard to keep anything private and sometimes hard to protect ourselves emotionally. When we become over dependent on technology, I think we start to lose some of our lives. I think shows like Black Mirror and this book are clear examples of the dangers of technology being abused.
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Post by qsusan » 02 Mar 2018, 12:35

I don't think it is possible to have scientific innovation without "ruining" the world, but I believe that any scientific advance should be carried out in such a way that it offsets any "ruin" with the benefits it brings. Currently, there is no single invention without a single con to its name, no matter how clean or green or progressive it claims to be. Green simply means greener; clean, cleaner; safe, safer and so on.
Thus it is left for us to weigh things carefully before we take the next step forward but we have to keep moving forward the alternatives of staying stagnant or moving backwards just won't do. (I suppose we could go up though).

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Post by Manali_DC » 02 Mar 2018, 13:00

This is a very difficult question to answer because the whole concept of scientific advancement vs ethical considerations is multilayered and complex.Scientific advancements in medicine, technology, cheaper affordable energy is necessary and beneficial for humans but along with these developments, or maybe as a side effect of these advances, we also have dangerous and harmful discoveries. More importantly, majority of people might not understand the need for certain scientific developments and might actually be fearful of some. But can you imagine the smooth functioning of the modern world without airplanes, and satellites and robots and mobile phones- all scientific discoveries that have at one point or other, in their developmental stages, given cause for concern to a lot of people.

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Post by SparklesonPages » 02 Mar 2018, 13:39

AbbyGNelson wrote:
01 Mar 2018, 11:39

What do you think? Do we allow innovation to continue without reserve or guidelines? Is that ethical? Is there a way to be more careful without losing out on new inventions that will truly help the world?
Great questions ! The exponential rate at which technology is being invented and developed means that regulations must be properly decided upon and implemented. It simply is irresponsible for research and development to continue unregulated before we find ourselves in dire circumstances that would have, in hindsight been avoidable. " Final Notice" offers a good scenario to open discussion on the subject and that is how change begins.

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Post by Mailis » 02 Mar 2018, 15:24

Progress has always been something that brings forward fears but every time someone has tried to suppress it, it has never ended very well. I think overall guidelines of values and social norms should be applied to any innovation and it should always be more beneficial than dangerous.

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Post by AbbyGNelson » 02 Mar 2018, 16:17

SparklesonPages wrote:
02 Mar 2018, 13:39
Great questions ! The exponential rate at which technology is being invented and developed means that regulations must be properly decided upon and implemented. It simply is irresponsible for research and development to continue unregulated before we find ourselves in dire circumstances that would have, in hindsight been avoidable. " Final Notice" offers a good scenario to open discussion on the subject and that is how change begins.
So how can we regulate it? We don't want to necessarily slow innovation because that's how we come up with solutions to problems, invent new medicines, etc. I'm just curious how we can make rules that keep us in safe swim lanes but allows progression to continue, you know?

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Post by kandscreeley » 02 Mar 2018, 16:23

I feel like this is an age old question that there's really no good answer to. People didn't even want credit cards when they first came out because they thought they were the "mark of the beast" or unsafe or something. There has to be a happy medium between allowing scientific innovation and educating people on the horrors what some of the inventions can do.

I just don't think that we can throw the baby out with the bath water on this one. There will always be evil people. We could get rid of all scientific innovation, and they would find a way to be evil.
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Post by Bluecobia » 02 Mar 2018, 16:55

I agree that technology can and will be used for both bad and good. It seems to be human nature. Some people try to do evil when ever they can . Technology is just another tool for them to use.

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Post by SparklesonPages » 02 Mar 2018, 17:56

AbbyGNelson wrote:
02 Mar 2018, 16:17
SparklesonPages wrote:
02 Mar 2018, 13:39
Great questions ! The exponential rate at which technology is being invented and developed means that regulations must be properly decided upon and implemented. It simply is irresponsible for research and development to continue unregulated before we find ourselves in dire circumstances that would have, in hindsight been avoidable. " Final Notice" offers a good scenario to open discussion on the subject and that is how change begins.
So how can we regulate it? We don't want to necessarily slow innovation because that's how we come up with solutions to problems, invent new medicines, etc. I'm just curious how we can make rules that keep us in safe swim lanes but allows progression to continue, you know?
I won’t even begin to feign the ability to solve such a conundrum. The range of development is so vast that one set of regulations isn’t going to be enough. This much I do know, burying our heads in the sand and hoping things go well won’t work. We need technological advancements to save lives not just make them cushy. Safely promoting this means regulation, open discussion and transparency. I am thoroughly enjoying this thread as I’m a avid follower of AI development and I look forward to the responses.

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