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    Technoscience Essay (942 words)

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    The world is changing rapidly. A single technological development can lead to aninfinite number of consequential developments, each of which having varyingimpacts on humanity. These impacts, or indicators, display the results oftechnological development. Climactic, economic, social, and energy relatedindicators are important in showing humanity’s use of technoscience, anddemonstrate that certain political and economic changes are needed so thattechnoscientists can use their knowledge to benefit the great majority ofhumanity. Climactic indicators are excellent examples of humanity’s misuse oftechnoscience.

    One such indicator is global temperature. It displays the resultsof the burning of fossil fuels and the release of nitrous oxides into theatmosphere. Production of coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power each expandedby 1 percent in 1995 (Brown, 16). Globally, the ten warmest years out of thelast 130 have all occurred in the eighties and nineties (Brown, 15).

    Thesefigures demonstrate that humanity is not effectively controlling and limitingits use of fossil fuels. As a result, acid rain falls upon the earth destroyingwhat is left of the planet’s forests and, an estimated 37 percent of the fishspecies that inhabit thelakes and streams of North America are either injeopardy or extinct. A second indicator that displays humanity’s misuse oftechnoscience is the global economy. Global economic statistics show the resultsof the applications of technoscience.

    In 1995, the global economy grew by anestimated 3. 7 percent the largest gain since the 4. 6 percent growth in 1980(Brown, 74). The use of technoscientific developments in various fields raisedthe global output of goods and services. Although this was an impressiveexpansion promoting employment and development, it also increased theunsustainable demands on the earth’s natural systems and resources, such as theplanet’s forests.

    Applications of technoscience have established the need forwood. The forests that once blanketed more than 40 percent of the earth’s landsurface now cover only 27 percent of it (Brown, 19). As a result, soil erodes,and the capacity of soils and vegetation to absorb and store water is reduced. Humanity’s misuse of technoscience can also be displayed with social indicators. Eighty-seven million people were added to the population in 1995 (Sachs, 88).

    The overwhelming majority were added to countries that were already strugglingwith the results of technoscience: depletion of forestry, erosion of soil, andreduction of aquifers. This added population only increased these countries’problems. Population growth is slowing in some country’s, but for the wrongreasons. In Russia, the combination of economic deterioration and environmentalpollution has raised death rates, while a loss of hope in the future has loweredbirth rates (Brown, 19). In Zimbabwe, births still exceed deaths, but by muchless than a few years ago because AIDS related deaths are increasing.

    Beneficialapplications of technoscience could be used in the above cases to improve socialsituation by introducing greater population control methods and by helping tocontrol the AIDS epidemic. Energy related indicators shoe the positive effectsof technoscientific application. While the production of coal, oil, natural gasand nuclear power each expanded by 1 percent in 1995, wind electric generationexpanded by 33 percent and sales of solar cells climbed 17 percent (Brown,5658). The harnessing of wind and solar energy does not create theenvironmentally harmful byproducts associated with their fossil fuel and nuclearcounterparts.

    Humanity’s use of renewable energy sources can only decreaseenvironmental problems. Charles E. Lindblom’s procedure of public policyintegration is an effective method by which technoscientists can be assured thattheir developments will be thoroughly explored so that humanity will not be hurtby their work. However, most corporations give strong incentives (bonuses, stockoptions) to encourage executives to diligently pursue corporate profitability(Woodhouse, 173). This results in a rapid, untested decision-making process thatyields swift innovation of products and production techniques that offer shortterm buyer effectiveness, profits for the seller and potentially long termnegative consequences to a portion of humanity, the environment or the world.

    Political procedures concerning technological developments must be gradual anddeliberate so that the development’s benefits can greatly outweigh thedisadvantages. Conflicting leaders should explore developments so that each canconsider the other’s views. The initial policy should be revised in small,reversible steps in response to feedback about errors, interpretations, andchanging perceptions of needs and opportunities (Morone, 168). The net resultwill be a general benefit to humanity. From an economic standpoint,technoscientist’s work might yield a greater humanitarian benefit with theincrease in common people’s role in the technological decision making process. Unfortunately, technological developments, no matter how beneficial to societythey might be proven to be, cannot be put into action without governmental andcorporate acceptance, or funds.

    However, those that are chosen to decide whetherit is necessary to invest in such developments might not be true representationsof society. Some in this hierarchy could be more interested in profit thanglobal well being. This hypothesis could consequentially have an affect ontechnoscientists psychologically. Those looking to better the world might becomecautious and skeptical in releasing and promoting their views and ideas. Thereis also the possibility that the temptation of money would override thefundamental principal technoscientists have of improving the world. Societyshould have a greater role at the decision making step.

    Those who might bedirectly affected by technological developments might not be so quick to acceptor decline a development for economic reasons. Technoscientists could then putgreater focus on improving the lives of those who are affected by theirdevelopments. In order for the world to benefit from technoscience, humanitymust learn to use it correctly and with foresight. Current climactic, globaleconomic, social, and energy related indicators show that the earth isdeteriorating from humanity’s overall misuse of technoscience. Changes must bemade in political and economic situations related to technoscientificdevelopment.

    If changes are not made, the decline in global quality of life willproceed as rapidly as technological development now advances. Bibliography1. Brown, Lester R. , Vital Signs, c.

    1996, Worldwatch Institute. 2. Sachs,Aaron, “Population Slightly Down”, Vital SigInstitute. 3. Morone,Joseph G. , “Why the Demise of Nuclear Energy?,” c.

    1989,YaleUniversity. 4. Woodhouse, Edward J., “Decision Theory and the Governance ofTechnology”, 1987ns, c.1996, Worldwatch

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