LAS 432 Week 5 DQ 1 The Politics of Technology

This pack of LAS 432 Week 5 DQ 1 The Politics of Technology comprises:

Superior expertise about how technologies work does not guarantee superior judgment about how they should be used, regulated, or governed. As technology becomes more sophisticated, how can citizens and political leaders judge and understand whether a given technology offers great perils or great promises? When great technological projects, such as venturing farther into the galaxy or developing new life-extending medicines, are proposed, how should government officials make decisions about how tax dollars should be spent?

Think of birth control pills, an Olympic runner in a race with artificial legs, video technology that can now pry into our private lives on the street. Electric and electronic technologies that drain our power grid. Cars crowding streets and poisoning the air and changing the international dynamic due to the importance of oil. Life extension medical technologies that have the effect of rising our medical costs as more seriously ill people more old people are living longer often with a low quality of life. There was little government involvement in technology issues and developments in the past but now we are beset by a host of questions produced by more and more technological innovation. Environmental issues are rising to the forefront and suggested remedies for the prevention of ruining our environment have price tags in the billions and trillions. How should governments deal with these issues. The Chinese government enforces a “one-child” policy. It is difficult to imagine the US government trying such a policy here. But how can these decisions be made or shall we just let technology happen and then try to deal with the consequences on a personal level?

There is a lot of discussion about the use of drones internally in the United States, not only by government but by private firms as well. This is a technology developed by the government for use in warfare. Do you think Doug, this was a wise invention? Do you think we will still be pleased when the use of drones becomes common by other nations? Is there a moral dimension to this technology?

The Government does sponsor a lot of research on the ocean and related environmental issues. Do you think the space program was a mistake? Why do you think the Government made the decision to do space exploration?

Do I understand your argument to be Eric, that the decision should be made based on the estimated payoff/benefit? Are their ways to measure these potential outcomes?

choices between space technology and human health but I don’t get the clear idea of why, what kind of policy is suggested by this decision, how should we decides these questions ? Effects that are tangible would suggest to me that planetary exploration would be more tangible that the iffiness of maybe extending the average human life by some limited amount of time. Then of course caring for the older persons resulting from new health findings is already becoming an economic burden in some societies so from an objective impartial point of view one might argue that a “tangible” outcome of life extension programs would be higher costs and greater social burdens more suffering and a general lower quality of life. But the basic issue is how should the government decide these things and other than personal preferences I don’t get much of an idea.

I think I understand your position and the position of others on this question that the benefits from space exploration do not merit support compared to the needs for health care. Others would disagree with this position. So we are back to my question about how we should make decisions on these questions in our society. I hear your points on this issue but I don’t see a general proposal of how these things should be decided. To put these items in perspective, the budget of NASA including the costs of space exploration is about $18 billion, the budget for health research and related is about twice that amount at $32 billion, health costs altogether are about $1.2 billion including preventative programs. Does this modify your thinking that there should be no funding of space exploration? How should we decide?

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