We tend to think of technology as objects, usually tools or instruments. People believe the neutrality claim about technology because objects themselves don’t act. The neutrality claim is a truism that comes from thinking of technology as objects that are used by humans; hence, only humans are morally responsible for what happens. The objects cannot be blamed; hence, technology cannot be blamed. As the philosopher Martin Heidegger (“The Question Concerning Technology”) suggests, this line of thinking leaves us only with the question of when (and how) we will bring technology under moral control. It is important to note, technology is not good or bad, but they can do bad and good things.
Human life is thoroughly mediated by technology. It is hard even to imagine a life that didn’t involve at least some tools and devices. Today, it is even harder to imagine a life without complex technological systems of energy, transportation, communication and production. Our world is mostly a constructed environment and our technologies and technological systems for the background, context, and medium for lives. We rely on what we make in order to survive, to thrive and to live together in societies. Sometimes the things we make improve our lives, and sometimes they make our lives worse. Technological devices shape our culture and the environment, alter patterns of human activity, and influence who we are and how we live.
The assumption is that the devices and substances we make and use transform our experience in ways that are philosophically relevant. That is, technology not only enlarges and extends our capacities and effects of changes in the natural and social worlds but also does so in ways that are interesting with respect to fundamental areas of philosophical inquiry. Technology poses unique practical and conceptual problems of epistemology, metaphysics, moral philosophy, and political philosophy.
In the present time of exponentiation growth of technology we need a critical, reflective examination of the nature of technology as well as the effects and transformation of technologies upon human knowledge, activities, societies and environment. This to understand, evaluate and criticize the ways in which technologies reflect as well as changes human life individually, socially and politically. It also examines the transformations effected by technologies on the natural world and nonhuman life and the ecospheres.
A philosophical reflection of technology is to analyze the phenomenon of technology, its significance, and the ways that it mediates and transforms our experience in the lifeworld.
The most important philosophical questions today concerns how to live with and criticize science and technology. The merger of science and technology and the influence on all aspects of life and world, constitute the distinctive character of our historical period. As human beings we strive to realize the good, and we do this in our history just much as in our bodies; our embodied histories are thus realities to be accepted as given and to be transformed by our actions. The dialectic between acceptance and criticism, between yes and no, in the technoscientific context, is what today constitutes the human condition. The rise of modern science and technology has presented a series of challenges to society.
What sits in the background is a technology that constituted a new type of cultural system that restructured the entire social world as an object of control. Technology now is an environment and a way of life. As individuals we adapt to life in a technological environment and our subjectivity is shaped and formed by the technological mode of life. Contemporary life is thus technologically mediated life. The humanities represent a source of fundamental human skills much needed in a technological age, and the study of humanities in technology shows the interconnection between technology and arts and engineering. Technology is always constructing its own norms, traditions and values in the technology and scientific civilization and building its own worldviews. The problem is not with techniques and technology; rather, the problem is that we need to develop a completely new mode of action to deal with the technology, which implicates the ethical risks.