Technology and Values LO11622

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
31 Dec 96 17:12:04 EST

Replying to LO11585 --

Ben, thanks for such a passionate statement on values and morality. You
are right, it does come up on this forum quite frequently, and it seems
that whenever it does we end up frustrated and unresolved. This is the
nature of values. Bill said, " I see it that technology is a product of
institutions and expression of their values. "

You gave examples of extreme uses of the Internet, and then said,

"I would never build a bomb to blow up a building because I cherish human
life; I would never download child pornography because I abhor it; I would
never create a subversive political group because I love my country and
want to build it up, not tear it down; I have no need for an illegal wire
tap, so that has no benefit. What I can say, however, is that my homepage
is becoming a reflection of my value system. And so do many other people's

Of course, _you_ would not do these things, but they are available on the
net because _someone_ would use this information. It is in this sense --
of our extraordnary heterogeneity on this issue of values -- that the use
of technology does exactly what Bill says. It reflects the values of all
of us. Not yours, not mine, but taken in sum, there are users for the
lousy stuff you described. I guess, as you pointed out, that we allow it
for two reasons. First, technologically, we probably cannot stop it.
Second, we deem the risk of censorship and control to be far greater than
the risks of this kind of freedom. Personally, I think technology will
always be indiscriminant. Sometimes it will play the role of making the
world safer -- drugs and medicines and surgical procedures -- and
sometimes it will increase the risk of death and destruction. In a
thumbnail, that covers the range of the values of the human race.


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc 76234,

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