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Science, Technology and Society: Development as The Survival of Mankind

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1. Introduction

In this society, sustainable development is pivotal for the survival of humankind. As the world population grows exponentially, science is essential to discover new ways to extend the life expectancy of the planet. Innovation disentangles issues in ways that scientists can do multiple studies at a time, but it is important to keep in mind that society and ethics also play an enormous role in the application of science.

2. Background and STS

It is critical to comprehend the difference between science and technology to provide an individual conviction of whether advancement should proceed. Science is the research and facts behind hypotheses, where technology is the applied science by means of creating products to do so. Science and Technology Studies (STS) combines two main studies, firstly the study of scientific and technological research and practices. Secondly, the study of how society and the environment have an impact on research and development. The situation that remains is a typical STS problem because various uses of technology are not accepted by society and should, therefore, not be practiced. If science and technology do not meet current prerequisites and obligations, it is repelled by society and that determines whether it is lawful to continue with these practices, but that is not generally the case.

3. Advantages of scientific and technological development

The development of technology is imperative through promoting high productivity sectors through the supplanting of manual labor with large-scale manufacturing and production efficient equipment to obtain a reliable working environment. A recent study by Rehman et al shows that Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are more commonly used by farmers to identify problematic zones of the farmlands where crop yields are low or non-consistent, therefore recovering only specific zones rather than the entire ground area. This method is cost-efficient and less time-consuming, therefore increasing cultivation and food output.

Another cutting-edge example of technological innovation for agricultural purposes is ultrasounds utilized by farmers to determine the meat quality of their livestock before selling them on the market. For decades, companies had to utilize manual labor to complete daily assignments. It was not time efficient because insurance companies, for example, had numerous actuarial analysts who had to collect and analyze data manually as well as calculate expenses and the probability of certain events without the use of modern technology.

4. Disadvantages of scientific and technological development

An investigation in 2012, by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), illustrated that Brazil, for example, has a total electricity generation of 538 billion kWh making it the eighth largest energy generation country in the world at that time. Coal is not a renewable resource and ongoing studies have shown that the accelerated depletion of natural resources had risen to 30% beyond what the Earth can supply every year. Higher interest in weapons, machinery, and vehicles is the result of technological improvement adding. Although easy access to extraordinary developments was created, we do not keep in mind the fact that it accelerates pollution every day. Factories have enormous CO2 gas clouds, contaminating the air, and water pollution is caused by increased product packaging, ending up in the oceans.

Medical equipment evolved exponentially in the past few decades utilizing innovative scientific research and technology, but this evolution carries risks. A case in October 2009, uncovered that 206 patients at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles were exposed to eight times the required amount of radiation. Constant and high exposure to radiation through technology has been proved to have a direct influence on the development of cancer cells in the younger generation.

5. Own conviction

Scientific and technological development should continue since science has helped humans to evolve, it has provided ways for us to rehabilitate the earth, uncover important historical events, and made life easier. The astonishing advancement of healthcare has saved millions of lives over the past hundred years. On the other hand, the application of science (technology) should be carefully monitored and laws should be created by society to protect the ethical values of every culture and religion. A complex system should be created that would solve multiple problems, for example, the variety of impacts that technology has on the environment. Critical systems thinking is the best way to solve this great controversy because it accepts the fact that we do not live in a perfect society where everyone agrees and gets along.

Multiculturism plays a great role because cultures should be respected during every decision-making process. As soon as one culture feels threatened, they will either exclude their practices or protest against cultural discrimination. An essentialist, for example, who rejects western medicine, would have no interest whatsoever in the advancement of health where a neo-conservatism would encourage the idea of change. A multidisciplinary approach would be to combine different principles or theories and create a science that would benefit everyone. By focusing on different subjects of a complex situation, such as climate change, where the focus can be placed on social, environmental, economic, ethical, and political spheres.

6. Ethical aspects

Prabhakaran depicts that virtuous logical research and technology are unbiased in a moral point of view because it is free of non-epistemic qualities. In the article, Parahakaran, further argues that the application of certain scientific methods, such as the weaponizing of diseases, artificial intelligence, and genetically modified embryos is unethical and “monstrous” behavior of mankind. Rehman et al contradict this statement by arguing that genetic modification is commonly used to enhance crop quality and production as well as better quality meat. Studies have proved that genetically modified crops and meat contains various nutrient deficiencies, preservatives, and toxins that prevent human growth and destabilize health. Many cultures and religions (such as Christians and Catholic churches) ban the science of genetically modified embryos and artificial intelligence since it is described as scientists’ way of “playing God” by trying to create a new altered life.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, the mismanagement of technology greatly affects humans and the environment. Science itself has no ethical connotation because it is only theory-based. If technology is strictly monitored and constrained by laws created by society and securing virtues, the continued development of science and technology will acquire positive outcomes in the future. This development can be used, for example, to construct solutions for the reduction of global warming and that is a science that will only benefit society and the planet. That is the fundamental objective.

8. Bibliography

  1. Freitas, F.F., De Souza, S.S., Ferreira, L.R.A., Otto, R.B., Alessio, F.J., De Souza, S.N.M., Venturini, O.J. & Ando Junior, O.H. 2019. The Brazilian market of distributed biogas generation: Overview, technological development and case study. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 101:146-157.
  2. Galasso, A. & Luo, H. 2019. Risk-Mitigating Technologies: the Case of Radiation Diagnostic Devices. Harvard Business School, Working Paper: 19-106.
  3. Parahakaran, S. 2017. An Analysis of Theories Related to Experiential Learning for Practical Ethics in Science and Technology. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 5(6): 1014-1020.
  4. Petralia, S., Balland, P. A. & Morrison, A. 2017. Climbing the ladder of technological development. Research Paper, 46(5):956-969.
  5. Polaiah, D.S. 2018. Impact of Technology on Environment. International Journal of Engineering Science Invention: 53-55.
  6. Rehman, A., Jingdong, L., Khatoon, R. & Hussain, I. 2016. Modern Agricultural Technology Adoption its Importance, Role and Usage for the Improvement of Agriculture. American-Eurasian Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Science, 16(2):284-288.
  7. Reinecke, C. J. 2019. Science, Technology and Society, edited by I.J. vd Walt. Potchefstroom: NWU, Potchefstroom campus. (Reader WVNS221 & WVIS321).
  8. Sampath, P.G. 2015. Benefits and Costs of the Science and Technology Targets for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Science and Technology Viewpoint Paper.
  9. United States of America Government. 2019. U.S. energy consumption, production, and exports reach record highs in 2018. U.S. Energy Information Administration. Date of access: 01 Sept. 2019. 

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